The number of foreigners arriving to Turkey from January through April has leapt up by almost a third compared to only a year ago. This is according to the official data, which was released, highlighting the continued momentum that has been built up in the industry.
Within the first four months, the arrivals from foreign countries reached just over 9.53 million, according to the Culture and Tourism Ministry data; this marks an increase of 27.5% year-on-year.
Flocking Russian tourists and steady increases
The arrivals seen from January through April has been driven mainly by the huge amounts of Russians flocking to the country, whilst also being driven by a strong demand from Europeans, spearheaded by Germany and closely followed by the United Kingdom.
During the first four months of 2023, over 1.15 million Russians arrived in Turkey, which marked an increase of 135% compared to the same four months in 2022.
Who else is arriving to Turkey?
Germany was second in the ranks of arrivals with 966,336 tourists visiting the country – this was an increase of 18.74% compared to the previous year. Bulgaria was ranked third, seeing 797,956 tourists arrive to Turkey – this was an increase of 17.45%. The data showed that Iran came in fourth, while the United Kingdom was fifth.
Top spots in Turkey for tourists
Turkey’s largest city Istanbul has been drawing in the tourists. It welcomed almost 4.77 million people to its streets in the first four months of 2023; this was over half of all visitors who chose to visit Turkey.
Antalya, the Mediterranean resort city, was second, opening its doors to around 1.6 million visitors. In third place was Edirne, which borders Bulgaria and Greece in the northwest of Turkey; this city saw 1.1 million visitors.
Exceeding pre-pandemic numbers
3.3 million foreign tourists made their way to Turkey in April alone, which was up 29% on the previous year and exceeded the figures seen pre-pandemic. The data showed that around 3.29 million visited Turkey in April 2019.
Foreign arrivals are expected, the government has said, to reach 60 million in 2023, before surpassing this to hit 90 million in 2028. The income is also set to rise, with 56 billion USD expected this year, and 100 billion USD by 2028.
Recent trends in arrivals and revenue
Visitors from abroad surged by 80.33% to 44.6 million in 2022; this was just shy of the peak seen at 45.1 million in 2019. This can be compared to the 2021 arrival numbers of 24.71 million and 12.73 million seen in 2020 at the height of the pandemic.
The revenues have also climbed up 53.4% from the previous year to a record high of almost 46.3 billion USD in 2022; this has been thanks to the final lingering effects of the pandemic dissipating and the surge in arrivals.
The income for last year swept past the previous high of 38.4 billion USD seen in 2019 before the onset of the pandemic. In 2021, the figure stood at 30.2 billion USD and after the pandemic hit, the income was halved to just 14.8 billion USD in 2020.
Tourism’s contribution to Turkey
In Turkey, tourism contributes to around 10% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and in addition to this, it was estimated that in 2022, around 1.7 million people were working in accommodation and food services; this equated to around 5% of the total employment of Turkey.
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