Tourism ‘mastery’: Erdoğan touts Türkiye’s peaking foreign arrivals

 Wednesday, November 30, 2022 

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday pitched what he said was Türkiye’s “mastery” in tourism, as an influx of foreign holidaymakers this year drove a rebound from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Erdoğan told the 7th Ordinary General Assembly of the Turkish Hoteliers Federation in the capital Ankara that they have finished their apprenticeship period in tourism and we are at the stage of mastery.

Although they paused during the global pandemic period, they are experiencing the peak point of their country in terms of both the number of tourists and tourism revenues.

Tourism revenues are vital to Türkiye’s economy as the government’s new economic program focuses on flipping the chronic current account deficits to a surplus, prioritizing exports, production and investments, and aiming to curb the soaring inflation.

The number of foreign visitors arriving in Türkiye climbed more than 88% year-over-year from January through October this year to 39.1 million, on pace to match the pre-pandemic levels of 2019.

The 10-month figure stood at 21.1 million in 2021, 11.2 million in 2020 and 40.7 million in 2019, according to Culture and Tourism Ministry data.

The arrivals this year have been mainly backed by Russian visitors who have been hit by flight restrictions applied by Western countries after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The rebound has also been driven by a major leap in demand from Europe, spearheaded by Germany and the United Kingdom.

The government raised its year-end tourism targets for the second time this year in late October.

It now expects 50 million tourists and $44 billion (TL 819.96 billion) in revenues, up from 47 million and $37 billion set in July and 45 million arrivals and $35 billion in income it had estimated at the beginning of the year.

The number of foreign visitors soared 94.1% to 24.71 million last year when COVID-19 measures were eased compared to 2020.

Tourism revenues doubled to almost $25 billion but remained well below the level recorded in 2019.

Revenues from January through September this year already reached $35 billion, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) data, up nearly 68% versus the same period a year ago.

Erdoğan said that Türkiye rose to fourth place in the world in terms of the number of tourists in 2021 and to eighth place in tourism revenues, which he described as a sign that the country would reach an even better position this year.

He stressed that Türkiye is suitable for the development and growth of the tourism sector in all its regions and cities.

In this period where their competitors in tourism have lost momentum due to the effects of the global crisis, our way to rise to the world leadership is clear by working much harder, the president said.

Türkiye aims to avoid missing out on opportunities by placing the country at the center of a reshaping global, political, and economic architecture, Erdoğan added.

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