This year, thermal tourism boosted Turkey's economy by $1bn

Pamukkale

A long soak in a hot pool has always been a drawcard for tourists visiting Turkey, so perhaps it's not surprising that the country's thermal attractions have generated the country $1 billion in revenue.

The head of Turkey's Thermal Health and Tourism Association Yavuz Yillik has announced that the income was generated from three million tourists, which included 750,000 foreign visitors.

Tourists from China, Germany, South Korea, Japan, Russia, United States, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Spain, Brazil, Azerbaijan, Norway and Luxembourg visited Turkey expressly for thermal tourism, Yillik said.

The booming sector is part of a thriving health tourism sector, that includes visitors visiting the country for health activities like surgery, natural spring waters and hair transplants.

These procedures and activities cost significantly less compared with other destinations in Europe, the US and other western countries.

Health tourists typically spend more than the average visitor, Yillik said.

"Foreign tourists, who spend $650-$750 on average in the all-inclusive accommodation system, reach over $1,000 in alternative tourism, thus providing more foreign exchange inflow to our country," he continued. "In this context, our country, which is rich in terms of tourism, should focus on thermal health and alternative tourism as well as sea, sand and sun tourism."

He explained that the thermal tourism industry had made attempts to promote Turkey's thermal sites around the world this year. With Turkey within easy reach of many countries, it was well placed to entice new tourist markets.

There are some 1500 thermal springs in Turkey. Located in the Aegean Denizli region, the world-renowned Pamukkale is undoubtedly the best known. It's one of the most popular sites for health tourists. The UNESCO World Heritage site has mineral rich thermal waters, as well as iconic travertine terraces.

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