The Covid-19 pandemic is having a devastating effect on the tourism industry worldwide, with countries heavily dependent on the sector especially suffering. Turkey is one of these countries and has been tackling the crisis with many difficulties in the past couple of months. But is it possible that a gradual recovery is on the horizon for Turkey’s tourism?
The country quickly broke into the list of the most popular countries for foreign tourists in 2021, leaving European competitors behind. However, it must be noted that the destination still failed to return to the pre-pandemic inbound levels.
The number of foreign tourists in Turkey exceeded 21 million in 10 months. In the period from January to October 2019, this number was 40.7 million, and for the same period in 2020 - 11.2 million.
Compared to two years ago, 48 % fewer foreigners arrived to Turkey. But in contrast with 2020, the number of tourists has doubled.
Antalya boasts the most impressive numbers, with the region having welcomed 8.6 million visitors in the first 10 months of the year, while Istanbul hosted 5.8 million foreign visitors until September.
With regards to the source markets, Russians accounted for almost 21 % of all foreign tourist traffic (4.3 million). Germany followed with 2.7 million tourists, with Ukraine finishing off the top 3 with 1.9 million tourists.
Many Still to Come
At the same time, it must be noted that the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey set a goal of 25 million tourists for the year, and it looks like this objective will be exceeded.
According to recent predictions from Turkey’s tourism minister Mehmet Ersoy, the tourism sector is set to welcome 29 million foreign guests in total until the end of the year, mainly due to an improved prognosis of data for November and December.
And numbers from October represent a clear example that this prediction might not be far from reality. During the last month, Turkey welcomed 3.5 million foreigners. This is just 19 % less than in the same month in 2019.
Russians supported the Turkish tourism sector the most during October, with over 900 thousand visitors (26 % of all) arriving from the country. Almost 500 thousand Germans arrived in Turkey as well as 217 thousand Ukrainians, 171 thousand Bulgarians and 155 thousand Iranians.