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European Tourism Recovery: Turkey Records the bulk of Foreign Arrivals

Arrival of Foreigners to Turkey

The pandemic affected almost every business sector across the globe and the tourism industry is no exception. Nevertheless, the tourism sector in Turkey was sufficiently robust to quickly bounce back, evidenced by the exceptional recovery after the pandemic – as compared to all the other European nations. As per the November report of the European Travel Commission (ETC), Turkey has recorded a surge of 61% in tourism when compared to 2019.

ETC Report – the Outcomes

The report, “European Tourism Trends and Prospects”, stated that Turkey has recovered quickly in the demand for visitors across the European continent. This secured the top position in the list for recovery. The report further opines that Europe will continue with this recovery with the help of value-driven and cost-conscious travel. Overall, by the end of 2022, Europe has recovered around 75% of the inbound travel volumes observed in 2019.

The Southern bounce back

Among the South Mediterranean destinations, Turkey witnessed maximum rebound along with Serbia and Luxembourg, the report stated. Furthermore, foreign arrivals recovered to around 77% of 2019 levels in the reported destinations. While the report considered Turkiye (as it is now officially known) as a good value destination, the entry of Russians into Serbia without any visa requirements also made a big difference.

Decline of Tourists in various nations

As per the report, several countries still marked a steep decline in tourist arrivals, especially Romania, Finland, Slovakia and the Baltic States. At present, the Baltic States are facing a ban on travel from Russia due to the war in the Ukraine. Moreover, suspended visa applications are further hampering the visit of Russians to Slovakia.

The Turkish increase in revenue

Turning to the revenue stats, Turkey continued to generate profits throughout 2022. The country witnessed an 88.1% increase in the visits of foreign tourists, amounting to 39.61 million, thus matching the pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

The first ten months post-pandemic saw the downturn of 21.1 million foreigners in 2021 as compared to the previous years. As per data obtained from the Culture and Tourism Ministry, while in 2020 there were 11.2 million arrivals, 40.7 million tourists visited Turkey in 2019. Along with Russian travellers, arrivals from Europe, specifically the United Kingdom and Germany, has significantly contributed to this 2022 rebound.

Istanbul – the most visited Turkish city

Istanbul, the largest and most popular city remained the foremost choice of visitors to Turkey, with 13.4 million foreigners visiting the city in the first 10 months of 2022. Antalya was the next to follow, recording 12.2 million arrivals. Likewise, Edirne province, which borders Greece and Bulgaria, witnessed the arrival of around 4 million tourists.

Arrival of Foreigners to Turkey

Talking about the breakdown of foreigners in Turkey in the first ten months of 2022:

  • Germany with 5.3 million travellers, accounted for 13.3% of all the visitors.
  • Russians with 4.6 million visitors were the next to follow.
  • Britain and Bulgaria saw 3.2 million and 2.3 million arrivals to the country, respectively.
  • 2 million visitors were from Iran
  • Counting the non-resident Turkish people in this visitors list, the number of arrivals to Turkey will rise to a staggering 45 million.

As European tourism recovers from the impact of the pandemic, Turkey is well-positioned to welcome a significant number of foreign arrivals. Its historical connections, geographical proximity, diverse tourism offerings, safety measures, and promotional efforts make it an attractive choice for European tourists seeking memorable travel experiences.

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