Published on : Friday, February 21, 2020
Turkey’s annual tourism revenue went up to an all time high in 2019, making the transcontinental nation one of the most popular destinations in the world, a boom to which diversification is key, industry professionals said.
Turkey attracted a record number of foreign visitors of over 45 million people in 2019, a rise of 14.1 per cent from the previous year, according to official data.
Turkey’s tourism revenues also hit $34.5 billion in 2019, a new record high, according to statistical data. The figure jumped by 17 per cent last year, up from $29.5 billion in 2018.
Istanbul, the country’s economic and touristic hub straddling the European and Asian continents, was the top arriving destination with nearly 15 million tourists, accounting for 33 per cent of all foreign visitors in 2019.
The Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, with its numerous historic sites and sandy beaches dubbed the “Turkish riviera” followed with 14.6 million foreign visitors last year.
With these record high numbers, Turkey became the sixth most visited country in the world, according to recently revealed figures by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
Erkan Yagci, head of the Mediterranean Touristic Hoteliers Association (AKTOB), said Turkey experienced a swift recovery recently and continues to prove itself as a major destination, constituting a valuable asset for the economy recovering from a recession.
He added that tourism professionals have now focused on the country’s new tourism strategy and are working to increase the country’s share in global tourism receipts.
The new tourism strategy targets over 75 million tourists and $65 billion in tourism revenue by 2023, the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Republic.
Tourism professionals have hailed last year’s promising figures and pointed out that diversification efforts launched more than a decade ago have started to bear fruit.
“Turkey is not only sun, sand and sea, this combo is of course a vital source of revenue, but I think that we have a lot more to offer besides this traditional trio,” Serkan Yagci, a travel agency manager said.
“We have the cultural tourism, and also health, thermal and cruise tourism which are going quite well, and as it was the case for last year, we are looking also foreign visitors for gastronomy fairs in major cities, there is a lot of interest from foodies who want to discover new tastes,” he said.