The Mediterranean gem of Antalya in Turkey saw a significant increase in the number of tourists arriving by air in the first half of this year. Over 5.52 million tourists visited the southern resort city from January to June, which is a 29% increase compared to the previous year, according to data from the Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism.
Reasons for the surge in tourists
The surge is mainly due to an influx of tourists from Europe, notably Germany and the United Kingdom, as well as Russia, who face flight restrictions from Western countries. The tourism industry is crucial to Turkey's economy, and Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy confirmed that Antalya is experiencing a record season, with an average of 100,000 foreign tourists arriving daily.
Germany and the United Kingdom were the top countries of origin for tourists visiting Antalya, followed by Russia, Poland, the Netherlands, Kazakhstan, Romania, Lithuania, Israel, and Ukraine.
Arrivals by air to Turkey’s infamous area
In June alone, over 2.14 million tourists arrived in Antalya by air, a significant increase from the 1.87 million in the same month of the previous year. Meanwhile, Turkey welcomed 4.5 million foreign visitors in May, representing a 16.2% year-over-year surge, indicating the continued momentum of the critical tourism industry's vital source of income for the economy.
Huge increase and hopes for the future
Between January and May of this year, the number of foreign visitors to Turkey increased by 23.7% compared to the same period last year, exceeding 14 million people. This is a critical development for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his administration, as they aim to reduce the current account deficit and tackle inflation.
Last year, Turkey experienced a complete recovery from the pandemic's aftermath, with the number of tourists almost reaching a record high. This generated unprecedented revenues, leading the government to increase its annual estimates.
The government hopes to welcome 60 million foreign visitors in 2023 and 90 million in 2028, with projected income of $56 billion this year and $100 billion in five years.
Comparing past figures shows impressive increase
In 2022, foreign visitors surged by 80.33%, reaching 44.6 million, just shy of the 2019 peak of 45.1 million. This figure is a significant increase from the 24.71 million arrivals in 2021 and 12.73 million in 2020. Revenues also hit a record high of nearly $46.3 billion, climbing 53.4%, as pandemic effects dissipated, and Russian arrivals increased.
Last year's income surpassed the previous high of $38.4 billion in 2019 before the pandemic, while the figure dropped to $30.2 billion in 2021 and just $14.8 billion in 2020. Tourism accounts for approximately 10% of Turkey's gross domestic product (GDP).
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