European tourism recovery driven by Turkey: Report


The tourism sector of Turkey has shown the most significant recovery post-pandemic of all the European countries with an increase of 61% compared with 2019. This is according to the European Travel Commission’s (ETC) November report.

ETC report findings

The report from the ETC, called “European Tourism Trends and Prospects”, stated Turkey had positioned itself at the top of the list for recovery; there was a rapid recovery in the demand for tourism across Europe similarly to that of 2019.

The report explained that: "Europe's return on travel will continue through the remaining months of 2022, led by cost-conscious and value-driven travel. All things considered; the European continent is expected to recover to close to 75% of 2019 inbound travel volumes by the end of 2022.”

Southern rebound

Highlighting the rebound of Turkey was primarily shown in the South Mediterranean destinations, the report said that “travel enthusiasm persisted this summer with over half of reporting destinations recovering to at least 77% of 2019 levels of foreign arrivals.”

It continued to say that: “based on data to August, Turkiye, Serbia and Luxembourg made the strongest comeback.”

The report continued to say that: “while Turkiye remains a good value destination, Serbia is open to Russian travellers without visa requirements. Indeed, there has been an influx of Russians arriving in Serbia.”

Decline in certain countries

The report stated that there had been a sharp decline in some countries for tourist arrivals, and these were recorded in the Baltic states, Romania, Slovakia and Finland. The Baltic states at current have a ban relating to the war on travel from Russia, while suspended tourists visa applications has been the reason for Russians unable to travel to Slovakia.

The Turkish increase in revenue

However, the tourism revenues of Turkey kept on the path of growth throughout the year of 2022. The number of foreign travellers reached 39.61 million, an increase of 88.1%, and on track to match the pre-pandemic levels of 2019 roughly, according to the most recent data.

Compared to previous years, the first ten months figures saw 21.1 million visitors in 2021, 11.2 million arrivals in 2020 and 40.7 million tourists in 2019. This data has come from the Culture and Tourism Ministry. In addition to the influx of Russian travellers, the rebound in 2022 has been driven by a huge leap in arrivals from Europe as well. This has been fronted by Germany and the United Kingdom.

Istanbul welcomes the most

The largest and most famous city of Turkey, Istanbul, was the top choice for visitors from abroad. Istanbul welcomed 13.4 million tourists in the first ten months of 2022.

This was followed by Antalya, the Mediterranean resort city, with 12.2 million arrivals. Similarly, the province of Edirne, which borders both Bulgaria and Greece, welcomed almost 4 million tourists.

Foreign visitors to the country: a breakdown

In the initial 10 months, Germany made up 13.3% of all travellers to the country, with 5.3 million travellers. This was followed by Russians, who brought in 4.6 million people. Britain saw 3.2 million travellers, while Bulgaria had 2.3 million arrivals to Turkey. Iran saw 2 million people travelling to the country. If citizens of Turkey living abroad are included within the count, the figures for the first ten months would reach 45 million.


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