Turkey aims to host 58 million tourists in 2020 – minister

Turkey aims to attract 58 million foreign holidaymakers and to raise its revenues from tourism to more than $40 billion this year, Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said on Monday at a meeting with Turkish tourism and business associations, NTV reported.  

Turkey hosted approximately 51 tourists in 2019, generating a revenue of almost $34 billion, NTV quoted Ersoy as saying.

“Turkey’s tourism target for 2023 is 75 million foreign tourists with an income around $65 billion,” the minister said.

Turkey needs a change in mindset and vision to realise its goals for tourism, a key sector for the country, the minister went on to say. “We have to spread tourism activities to all 81 provinces in the country.”

Ersoy added that his ministry was working on two new major projects in the western Izmir and Aydın provinces to boost the Aegean coast’s profile.

Turkey’s cheaper currency has helped attract more foreign holidaymakers since a currency crisis struck in mid-2018, helping it balance its current account deficit.

According to the ministry’s data, the Mediterranean city of Antalya was the country’s most popular holiday destination last year. It hosted more than 14 million foreign visitors, almost 34 per cent of all visitors to Turkey, during the first eleven months of 2019.

Turkey’s second most popular holiday destination during the same period was Istanbul, which attracted 13.8 million foreign holidaymakers.