Turkey receives 13 million visitors in first half of year
The number of tourists who visited Turkey in the January to June period of this year increased by 12.6 percent over last year, reaching just over 13 million, according to new data published by the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
According to the data, Germany had the highest percentage of tourists visiting Turkey in the first half of the year with 14.7 percent of the total number (1,915,691), followed by Russia with 11.45 percent (1,491,839). The UK represented 7.42 percent (966,690) of the total number of tourists, whilst tourists coming from Iran made up 7.03 percent (915,386) and vacationers from Bulgaria, 5.13 percent (667,814). Meanwhile, French tourists made up 3.89 percent, Georgian tourists 3.72 percent, Dutch tourists 3.65 percent, and tourists from Syria and Greece, 3.37 percent and 2.42 percent, respectively.
The most popular entry points into Turkey in the first six months of year were Antalya with 32.38 percent, İstanbul with 27.34 percent and Edirne with 8.85 percent of the total number of tourists.
In the busiest tourist month, June, the total number of tourists Turkey was 3,780,637 million, an increase of 8 percent compared to last June’s figure of just over 3.5 million. Out of this number, 243,905 (6.4 percent) visited for just one day. In addition, the provisional number of tourists that visited Turkey in June 2009 was 3,263,089 and3,500,024 in2010. The places of entry that received the biggest number of tourists in June 2011 were Antalya, İstanbul and Muğla.
Russians represented the largest percentage of visitors in June, followed by Germany and the UK. The number of tourists coming from Russia has increased dramatically over the last few years:481,300 inJune 2009, 578,527 tourists in June 2010 and616,014 inJune 2011. Tourism experts state that the elimination of visa requirements between the two countries has caused more Russians to come to Turkey for a vacation.
The ministry’s figures also show that there has been a sharp increase in tourists from Iran over the last few years, where Dubai was once the number one vacation destination of many Iranians. Now, however, Iranians are choosing Turkey for their holidays, which Turkish tourism companies attribute to an upsurge in its promotional activities in Iran.
While Russians and Germans still make up the bulk of tourists coming to Antalya, Iranians have also taken a liking to Turkey’s southern beaches, with Antalya being a favorite getaway spot for many. The number of Iranians who visited Antalya in the first six months of this year — which was just under 63,000 — increased by 101 percent over last year, according to the Anatolia news agency. In 2007, roughly 14,000 Iranian tourists visited Antalya, doubling in2008. In2010 the number of visitors from Iran to Antalya reached around 79,000, a 133.2 percent jump over the previous year.
The Culture and Tourism Ministry’s provisional data for visitors to Turkey as a percentage of the whole during the month of June are as follows: Russia (16.29 percent), Germany (13.97 percent), United Kingdom (9.67 percent), Iran (4.46 percent), Netherlands (3.10), Bulgaria (2.98 percent), France (2.93 percent), Georgia (2.57 percent), United States (2.49 percent) and Ukraine (2.42 percent).
Resource: Today’s Zaman