Record income as number of foreign visitors soar

Oludeniz beach

According to official figures recently released, Turkey's tourist industry generated an all-time high revenue in the third quarter of 2023 thanks to a spike in international arrivals. This indicates that the country is almost certain to surpass its record year-end targets.

Data from the Culture and Tourism Ministry showed there were 5.8 million tourists who visited in September, which showed an increase of 5.7% from the previous year. This increases the first nine-month total to 39.2 million, up 12.6% from the previous year.

How do the figures stack up?

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his administration have concentrated on narrowing the current account deficit to combat persistent inflation, as tourism is a vital source of income for Turkey.

Further data according to TurkStat, the Turkish Statistical Institute, shows that income from tourism rose in the period for January-September to $42 billion, which is a 20.1% increase from the same period last year.

Last year's complete recovery from the pandemic's aftermath saw record numbers of tourists, earning all-time high profits and pushing the government to increase its yearly predictions. The government have predicted that they will see 60 million international arrivals equating to $56 billion in revenue this year.

What influences the income?

Combined with Turkish residents residing abroad, the number of tourists climbed to 45.2 million from January to September, which is a 12.4% increase over the same period in the previous year. Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said the total for September alone exceeded 6.5 million, up from 6 million the previous year.

The average duration of stay in the first nine months of 2023 fell by 6%. However, he predicted tourists' per capita nightly expenditure would reach $100 this year. During the July-September period, visitors spent an average of $902 per person. He said the per capita nightly cost was $85 in the first quarter, $112 in the second, and $103 in the third, with the expected decline to $96 in the last three months of the year.

In 2022, the average nightly spending was $89 with spending on sports, education, and culture increasing by 33.3%, housing by 26.1%, food and beverage by 24.6%, while tour services expenditures decreased by 1.6% year-on-year in the third quarter of the year.

Where are the visitors from?

The momentum last year was driven by an influx of holidaymakers from Europe, in particular those from Germany and the United Kingdom, there were also arrivals from Russia, however these numbers were lower due to the travel restrictions which the Western Nations imposed because of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

In the first nine months of last year there were over 5 million Russian visitors which saw them top the list of nationalities arriving in Turkey, with Germany making up a further 4.8 million tourists, and the United Kingdom accounting for over 3 million tourists. According to Culture and Tourism Ministry figures, 2.15 million people arrived from Bulgaria, and 1.87 million from Iran.

Tourism industry in Turkey

Tourism provides approximately 10% of Turkey's GDP, with about 5% (1.7 million people) of the total employment in 2022 coming from food and accommodation. The government expects foreign arrivals to exceed 90 million by 2028, with income predicted to reach over $100 billion.


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