Turkey’s domestic tourism experienced over 40 pct drop in first quarter

Turkey has recorded a 41.9 percent year-on-year drop in domestic tourism spending in the first quarter of 2020, state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Wednesday, citing the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK).

The country’s domestic tourism expenditures from January to March this year dropped to 4.6 billion lira ($671 million) from the 7 billion lira ($1 billion) generated in the same quarter in 2019, Anadolu said.

Turkey’s tourism sector, a key contributor to the country’s economic growth, was shut down in March as part of measures to contain the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus. Last month, the industry re-opened for domestic tourism under strict government guidelines.

Domestic tourists took a total of 6.8 million trips during the first quarter, down 38 percent from 2019’s first quarter, Anadolu said.

Meanwhile, domestic trips with one or more overnight stays dropped by 43.5 percent, compared to the same quarter of the previous year, it said.

TÜİK data also showed that travelers spent an average of 510 Turkish lira ($74) per trip, up from 496 lira ($72) during the same period last year. 

Visiting relatives led as the top purpose for domestic trips in the first quarter at 74.7 percent, followed by travel, leisure and holiday, at 11.4, and health at 7.4 percent.

Turkey's tourism revenue dropped by an annual 11 percent to $4.1 billion in the first quarter of this year.