Turkey to see over 10 pct growth in tourism income, visitors in 2019 – experts

Turkey will wrap 2019 with an over 10 percent rise in both the number of tourists and income from tourism, pro-government Daily Sabah reported citing tourism professionals.

Tourists visiting the country surged by 11.3 percent year-on-year in the first five months of the year, according to the Culture and Tourism Ministry, with nearly 12.8 million foreigners visiting the country between January-May, compared to 11.5 million in the same period in 2018. 

Turkey’s foreign visitors dropped 30 percent in 2016 compared to previous year, following a series of bomb attacks and the failed July 15 military coup attempt, according to data from the Tourism Ministry. The country has since been trying to recover from what officials called devastating losses in the sector.

Turkey’s largest city of Istanbul and the southern coastal city of Antalya have enjoyed a significant surge in tourists in 2019, Daily Sabah said. 

In a five-hear high, Istanbul welcomed a record number of tourists,  5.4 million foreigners, in the January-May period, marking an 11 percent increase compared to the same period of last year.

The city was visited by  13.4 million tourists in 2018.

The Mediterranean resort city of Antalya has seen a 16 percent year-on-year increase in tourists. From January until June 18, around 6.91 million foreigners arrived at Antalya Airport and Gazipaşa Airport, it said. 

It hosted 12.4 million foreign visitors in 2018, according to the Culture and Tourism Ministry.

Turkey’s tourism income surged 12.3 percent to $29.5 billion, according to Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat), while figures from the Culture and Tourism Ministry indicate it saw a 21.84 percent increase in visitors in 2018 compared to the previous year, welcoming 39.5 million tourists.

"According to our projections, there will be a growth of over 10 percent in Turkey this year, the figures so far confirm this. We will break a historic record in 2019. We will see an overall figure of over 50 million across the country," Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TÜROFED) Chairman Osman Ayık said.

Tourism income is expected to increase by 10 percent after nearly hitting $30 billion last year, Ayık said. 

Russians made up 13.1 percent of Turkey’s tourists (1.8 million), followed by Germans at 9.5 percent (1.2 million) and Bulgarians at 7.7 percent (more than 980,000) of the tourists arriving in Turkey between January-May of this year, according to data from the Culture and Tourism Ministry.