Posted on 28 July 2014
Turkey’s appeal to tourists now stretches far beyond its beaches, weather and bazaars, with new statistics showing that annual visitors to the country’s museums and historic sites rose by a staggering 428 per cent between 2000 and 2013.
According to the Turkey Museums 2013 report by the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies, 29,533,966 people visited museums and historical sites in Turkey in 2013, of which 69 per cent travelled from abroad and 31 per cent were Turkish citizens. Topkapi Palace and its harem section recorded the highest increase, totalling 4,428,463 visits.
The Association’s tourist number target across all sectors of tourism is 43 million visitors in 2014, generating $36 billion in revenue, with the country’s museums and historical landmarks playing an ever increasing role in that figure.
Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism places the total number of museums in the country at 370, 188 of which are government-run and 192 of which are privately run. At present, 16 museums are under restoration and development while 34 others will soon launch. Around the country, many towns are opening new museums, or what some are calling “tourism locomotives” – boosting tourism in the areas surrounding new museums.
In the first five months of 2014, the number of foreign visitors to Turkey rose to 10.9 million, a rise of 4.8 per cent on the same period in last year, according to data released by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.