2021 tourism in Turkey helped by top COVID-19 measures


According to the former secretary-general of the UNWTO, it will be quickly possible for tourism in Turkey to get back to pre-pandemic visitor numbers provided the country keeps measuring and proving to tourists that it is a safe place to visit.

Taleb Rifai, the secretary-general of the UK based WTFI (World Tourism Forum Institute) said that: “Turkey is doing very well. If Turkey continues to inspire and give confidence for visitors, it may reach the pre-2020 rates before the end of 2021.”

Tourism revenue during the pandemic

The tourism revenue during the pandemic fell by two thirds in 2020, due to global travel restrictions, orders to stay home, and restaurant and hotel closures during the second part of the year.

Tourism revenue in Turkey dropped to 12.06 billion USD (88.19 billion TL), which equated to a year-on-year decrease of 65.1%, or from 34.5 billion USD in 2019. Despite this, Turkey is hoping for the industry to bounce back this year.

Where did the visitors come from?

According to the Culture and Tourism Ministry, data the number of foreigners that visited Turkey last year fell by over 71% year-on-year, exceeding 12.7 million in total.

Over two million of all tourists came from Russia and made up 16.8%. The Russians were followed by Bulgarians with 9.8%, then Germans who made up 8.8%, Ukrainians with 7.8%, and finally British nationals with 6.4% of visitors arriving in Turkey.

There were 699,330 foreign visitors in Turkey during December 2020, which was a 67.4% decrease from December 2019. In 2019, Turkey played host to 45 million foreign visitors which was an increase from the 39.5 million total from 2018.

Tourism growth in 2021/2022

Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, the Culture and Tourism Minister made a projection that by the end of this year, tourism revenue is expected to stand at just over 11 billion USD and over 30 million visitors in total. Ersoy stated that Turkey is planning a minimum growth this year of 100%, which means they will need to welcome over 30 million visitors.

Safe Tourism Certificate

The Culture and Tourism Ministry were behind the Safe Tourism Certificate program at the start of the coronavirus outbreak, which put top measures into place at accommodation providers, Turkish airports, and the best Turkish beaches to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19. These measures and high safety standards have put tourist minds at peace during their vacations in Turkey.

Moving Onwards and Upwards

Rifai touched on how well Turkey had dealt with this crisis and reiterated how important strong political will and a belief of the tourism sector survival. Rifai went on to add: “It is about everyone in the world. It is not about competition but rather coordination and good management.”

In accordance with the latest data supplied by UNWTO, global tourism has suffered an awful year in 2020, with international arrivals falling globally by almost 75%. This collapse of international travel has an estimated loss of 1.3 trillion USD in export revenues.


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