Official data recently released showed that there was an upward trend for the first nine months of 2021 with foreign holidaymakers reaching a staggering 1.8 million for the month of November.
The Culture and Tourism Ministry reported that although these figures were up by a huge 111.5% when compared with November 2020, they are still down 19.5% when compared to the pre-pandemic levels seen in November 2019.
Most popular tourist locations in Turkey
According to Ministry data, Turkey played host to 2.6 million visitors last month alone, including those Turkish citizens that now live abroad. The most popular location for foreign visitors was Istanbul as the city welcomed 997,621 tourists, which equates to 57%. Istanbul was followed by the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, and the northwest area of Edirne that borders both Greece and Bulgaria.
Where did tourist travel from?
The number of visitors were split with the most coming from Russia totalling 192,809 visitors which equals 11% of the entire visitors. Russia was followed by 159,237 tourists from Bulgaria, 152,026 Germans, 136,950 Iranians and 67,797 tourists from Iraq.
The data showed that there was a total of 22.8 million visitors recorded in Turkey between January 2021 – November 2021, which was a massive increase of 89.6% on the previous year affected by the pandemic.
Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, the Culture and Tourism Minister commented on tourism plans and figures for this coming year and confirmed that the original tourism target put in place for 2021 of 24 billion USD in revenue had been reached. When speaking about this year, he said that the aim is to hit 34.5 billion USD as the industry had achieved this before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ersoy did say that whilst the target for 2021 was ambitious, it was achieved. He went on to say: “we specifically stated that we aim to raise our revenue from 12 billion USD in 2020 to 24 billion USD with a 100% increase. It was an ambitious and difficult target, but by the end of the year, we saw that it was achieved.”
When asked about the new COVID-19 variants, Ersoy said that Turkey are going to continue fighting but he was quick to add: “Of course, it is not enough for us as Turkey to fight alone in this process. The countries that provide us with tourists must also successfully fight the pandemic so that mutual air traffic is open. My prediction is that this will happen in May.”
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