The latest data on tourism in Turkey reveal what was expected – a drop of tourism numbers. The decrease of 40% in June however is the most severe drop ever recorded, according to the statistics dating back to 1994.
According to official data, this is the biggest fall in the number of tourists for at least 20 years. The amount of foreign tourists in Turkey decreased due to the reignited tension with Russia and a series of deadly attacks in the country, including in Istanbul.
The country was also the scene of a failed coup on July 15 which is likely to hit tourism in Turkey even more. The Turkish Foreign Office asked all tourists for extreme caution particularly in public places in Ankara and Istanbul. People should always carry a valid identification documents and should be aware that curfews can be imposed at short notice. General identity checks may be performed at any time, according to the authorities.
The number of tourists dropped by 40.86% in June, compared to June 2015 with 2.44 million foreigners visiting at that time of the year, said the Turkish Minister of Tourism. The previous record for the decline was established in May, with a fall of 34.7% in the number of tourists compared to May 2015.
Since the Turkish forces attacked a Russian military aircraft over the Syrian border last year, the tourism industry has been severely affected by tensions with Moscow. In the first half of 2016, the number of Russian tourists in Turkey declined sharply by 87%, according to Turkish statistics.
Tourism in Turkey feels the impact of the reaction of international companies. Many tour operators limited or canceled their offer of holidays in the country. Thomas Cook for instance stated that the company rather focuses on Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Cuba and the United States.
The hoteliers, sunbed owner, and souvenir merchants on the Turkish Riviera despair on the decline in visitor numbers. They barely make money, some of them are already thinking about closing their businesses.