The Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister has announced that during the first two months of 2019, Turkey was visited by more than 3.2 million foreign tourists. Official figures have confirmed that this is a 7.4% rise when compared to the same period last year and a new record.
Which areas are proving most popular?
Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey in terms of population and it also claimed the top spot when it comes to tourists. In January and February Istanbul welcomed the largest number of visitors, standing at 984,689 which equates to almost 59% of all visitors in the first two months of the year.
Edirne, which sits in the north-western province of Turkey and borders with both Greece and Bulgaria came in second. Visitors to this area amounted to 203,498 in the first two months of the year. The Mediterranean resort of Antalya came in third with over 135,000 foreign visitors. There were also 8.55% of visitors to Turkey coming from Bulgaria, 7.34% from Germany and finally 7.25% from Georgia.
How did the tourists travel to Turkey?
According to official data, the preferred mode of transport to Turkey amongst the foreign visitors was by air. Figures show that approximately 2.3 million foreign visitors arrived by air whereas 850,000 opted to make the journey by road. From this information, it can be deduced that the number of foreign tourists visiting Turkey in February alone was up by 9.38% when compared to the same time in the previous year. These figures continue to improve with 1.6 million tourists choosing to visit Turkey last month.
All eyes firmly fixed for 2022
With its increasing popularity, officials in the country are constantly thinking of ways in which they can improve travel for the tourists that stay in Turkey whilst also continuing to welcome additional foreign tourists. For this reason alone, the new airport in Istanbul has already been completed and there is also a prominent project currently underway, the third airport in Antalya that should be completed by the end of 2022.
Why Antalya needs a new airport?
Antalya airport has coped extremely well with the current footfall of tourists, however, as there have been no signs of the visitor numbers decreasing, in fact the figures are rapidly increasing which has made the introduction of a third airport a necessity rather than a luxury. Turkish Officials have confirmed that there has been an increase in foreign visitors from various countries, but it is the Russians that are flocking to Turkey.
Where will the airport be and what can it offer?
The new airport is to be situated to the west of Antalya close to the city of Kas. The airport will have the capability to welcome an additional five million tourists per year, meaning that it can take the strain off the two airports in Antalya that are both starting to struggle to meet the needs and demand of travellers. Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated that negotiations are underway to make the new airport completely visa free as he feels that this would be a great way to cut down on congestion and provide visitors with a far more enjoyable experience.
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