As international flights resume to Antalya, the number of foreign tourists visiting the Turkish Mediterranean resort city has hit one million, with Ukraine being the most popular homeland for these tourists.
Antalya has established itself as a safe destination for holidaymakers during the coronavirus pandemic, and as a result the number of tourists have soared.
Between January 1 and August 19, approximately 1.08 million tourists arrived in Antalya from 31 different countries. Of these, nearly 300,000 were from Ukraine, and 281,000 from Russia. A further 221,000 flew over from Germany and approximately 85,000 came from the UK.
Challenging times for the tourism sector
Recep Yavuz, the City Council Tourism Working Group Chairman, explained to reporters that the tourism sector had been undergoing one of the most challenging times in history due to the coronavirus outbreak. He continued to say that the travel warnings that many countries had issued were the most significant obstacles the sector had faced.
Yavuz added that unfortunately, Antalya has been struggling against restrictions during this period of COVID-19, similarly to other popular destinations such as Mallorca, France, Northern Spain, Croatia, and Bulgaria.
According to official figures that were provided by the provincial authorities, Antalya welcomed some 15.5 million tourists last year, which set an all-time record for tourism in the city, with guests coming from 193 different countries.
Safe Tourism Certification Program
Turkey successfully promoted and implemented the Safe Tourism Certification Program, Yavuz said, hinting that this was one of the reasons that tourists had preferred Antalya over other places to visit.
The Foreign Ministry, Culture and Tourism Ministry and Transport Ministry came up with the Safe Tourism Certification Program. Covered by the scheme are a broad range of safety measures which concern things such as transportation, the health and safety of tourists and hospitality employees, as well as accommodations.
Issued by international certification institutes, this certificate validates airlines, airports and transport’s execution of strict health and hygiene requirements, as well as the accommodation channels, and food and beverage spots.
World Tourism Organisation’s take
Turkey is ranked 6th in the world for the number of tourists they welcome, and 14th for tourism income, according to World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) data from 2019. The tourism sector was also announced to account for 12% of the nation’s economy.
Tourism revenues in 2019 hit 34.52 billion USD with nearly 52 million visitors arriving to Turkey last year alone; this was a rise of 13.7% from the previous year. Of these, 86.2% was made up of foreigners, and 13.8% of Turkish citizens residing abroad, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat).
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