Turkish Tourism Industry Hosted 39.5 Million Foreigners in 2018

The Turkish tourism industry hosted 39.5 million foreign tourists in 2018 and 6.62 million Turks living abroad, marking its most successful year to date. The numbers released by Turk Stat, the country official statistics portal showed an increase year-on-year of 21.45% from January to December.

Although all months showed an increase in visitors, January and March stood out as the two most significant with percentage rises of 36.7 and 32.71. These two months are outside of Turkey’s principal holiday season which runs from May to October and can be credited with a rise city break dwellers and other off-the-beaten-track locations.

Turkish Tourism Industry’s Most Popular Places

The same stats showed the five most visited destinations, and to no surprise, Istanbul ranked in at first place. Historically, leading the way of Turkish tourism, it hosted 13,432,990 people taking up a 34% market share of the industry.

The city holds the country’s most popular tourist attraction, the old district of Sultanahmet that is home to various Byzantine and Ottoman landmarks like the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. It has also diversified to be a leader in health and medical tourism and is well known for its luxury shopping scene.

Antalya rocked in at second place by hosting 12,438,822 tourists that contributed 31.50% to the industry. Including the city centre and smaller coastal resorts, it’s the top beach and golfing destination in Turkey.

The following three destinations were Edirne that hosted 3,835,131 visitors marking a share of 9.71%, Aegean Mugla that hosted 2,723,815 tourists accounting for 6.9%. This province includes the popular beach holiday districts of Marmaris, Fethiye and Bodrum. Lastly, North-eastern Artvin hosted 2,360,270 people taking up nearly 6% of the market share.

Top Five Nationalities

Often preferring the Mediterranean Antalya district, the top visitor nationality was Russian which is again no surprise compared to previous years. Russians made up 15.10% of tourists with record figures of nearly 6,000,000 people. The following four nationalities were…..

  • Germans: 11.43%: 4,512,360 visitors
  • Bulgaria: 6.04%: 2,386,885 people
  • United Kingdom: 5.71%: 2,254,871 tourists
  • Georgia: 5.24%: 2,069, 392 visitors

Revenue and Expectations for 2019

In another announcement, Turk Stat announced that revenue rose to just over 29 billion dollars. This increase year-on-year of 12.3% credited individual expenditure of 22 billion and package travel for 6.9 billion.

The reports broke down into sectors including clothes, shoes, food and drink. Tourists spent 966 million on souvenirs and 77 million on carpets and rugs. While the stats are impressive, they still fell short of Turkey’s target to earn 32 billion in revenue.

Riding high on the results of last year, the Turkish tourism industry is predicting another successful year in 2019. Turkey’s vision plan aims to achieve annual stats of 50 million tourists and 50 billion dollars’ worth of revenue by 2023. To do this, they are diversifying Turkish tourism niches, promoting travel outside of the main season, and implementing new logos and marketing campaigns.

Turkish tourism industry

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(Infographic by Anadolu News Agency)

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