Rebound continues as foreign arrivals to Turkey increase by 225.6%

Foreign arrivals to Turkey continue to rebound, official April data showed on Monday, as the industry clears up the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of foreign visitors arriving in April jumped 225.6 percent from a year earlier to 2.57 million, the culture and tourism ministry said.

Arrivals compare to a low of 791,000 foreign visitors in April 2021. Turkey began closing borders and restricting activity in March 2020, when its first cases of COVID-19 were recorded.

Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city by population and one of the main tourist attractions, received 40% of all foreign visitors, or nearly one million, in April.

It was followed by the Mediterranean resort town of Antalya with 661,609 foreign tourists and Edirne in northwestern Turkey, which borders both Bulgaria and Greece, with 359,303 foreign visitors.

Germany tops the list of nationalities with 15.4%, or almost 400,000 visitors, followed by Bulgaria (10.5% or 271,000) and the United Kingdom (8.8% or 225,000) .

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is expected to impact arrivals from Turkey’s main tourist sources, just as the sector continues to recover from the outbreak.

Arrivals from January to April jumped 172.5% year-on-year to nearly 7.47 million, the data showed, from 2.74 million a year ago.

The number of Russians arriving last month fell to 130,150 from 156,133 a year ago. Arrivals from January to April fell to 490,914 from 552,048 in 2021, the data showed.

Germans topped the list for the first four months of the year with 813,792 tourists, an increase of 338.81% year-on-year, followed by Bulgaria with 679,406, an increase of 324 .55% year over year and Iran with 654,631, an increase of 236.77. % of a year ago.

The United Kingdom came after Russia in 5th place with 406,490 tourists.

Overseas visitors soared 94.1% to 24.71 million and revenues doubled to nearly $25 billion last year when COVID-19 measures were eased from 2020.

Russians and Ukrainians were the country’s first and third largest sources of visitors in 2021, respectively. Russians accounted for 19% of foreign visitors, with 4.7 million people, while Ukraine was third with 8.3% with 2.1 million people.

Authorities had hoped tourism this year could match or surpass 2019 figures, when some 52 million visitors – including about 7 million Russians and 1.6 million Ukrainians – brought in $34 billion ($504.83 billion TL) revenue.

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Sharon P. Juarez