299,000 passengers arrive to Turkey on cruises between January – May

Cruise in Turkey

Turkey’s transport minister explained recently that between January and May, the country welcomed a total of just over 299,000 passengers on cruises, which was a surge of 114% compared to a year ago.

The “Century of Turkey” begins

According to a statement made by Abdulkadir Uraloglu, the launch of Istanbul’s new mega Galataport in the last quarter of 2021 resulted in an increase in cruise tourism. He also stated that cruise tourism investments will continue and that the future looks promising, dubbing it the Century of Türkiye.

He continued to say: “With the recent surge in investments, cruise tourism is experiencing exponential growth. Our dedication to developing cruise tourism is paying off, as evident in the increasing number of cruise passengers we have welcomed, despite the setback caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first five months of 2023 alone, we hosted over 299,000 cruise passengers, showcasing a 43.1% rise in the number of cruise ships docking at our ports and 114% surge in cruise passenger numbers compared to the same period last year.”

Numbers of cruises at Turkey’s ports have increased

The quantity of cruise ships that have arrived at Turkey’s ports has significantly increased by 43.1% compared to the previous year, within the first five months of this year.

Kusadasi Port on the Aegean coast has welcomed 157,940 cruise passengers, Galataport has received 67,740 visitors, while Istanbul's TDI Sarayburnu dock has hosted 3,276 passengers. Antalya port has welcomed 14,777 passengers.

Galataport – boosting tourism after the COVID-19 outbreak

Galataport is situated in the Karakoy neighbourhood of Istanbul. Its primary aim is to give a boost to the tourism industry. The port, which was supposed to open in 2020 but was delayed due to the pandemic, finally opened in October 2021. It features a variety of amenities including a shopping mall, a Turkish hotel, cultural venues, and several well-known restaurant chains.

Additionally, the project has allowed public access to a previously closed 1.2-kilometre (0.74-mile) stretch of coastline that had been off-limits for two centuries. The port spans a total area of 400,000 square metres, 250,000 of which are located underground.

Improving numbers reducing the impact of the pandemic

In 2022, the total number of foreign visitors increased by 80.33% to 44.6 million, almost reaching the peak of 45.1 million in 2019. This is compared to 24.71 million in 2021 and 12.73 million in 2020. Tourism revenue rose by 53.4% to an all-time high of almost $46.3 billion, as the pandemic's impact reduced, and Russian arrivals surged due to flight restrictions imposed by Western nations on Russia. Last year's tourism earnings surpassed the previous high of $38.4 billion in 2019, before the pandemic.


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