Number of tourists visiting Turkey up by 11 percent

Turkey is enjoying a growing number of tourists visiting this year and it has seen a nearly 11 percent increase in the first seven months of this year, the Turkish government has said.

Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry data shows that Turkey received 17,624,969 tourists in the first seven months of this year — a 10.64 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

The month of July has also seen an increase in the number of tourists visiting the country by 5.49 percent. A total of 4,597,475 tourists visited Turkey in July alone. While Germany is topping the list, Russia is second and the UK third in terms of the number of tourists visiting Turkey.

Out of nearly 18 million tourists, 990,906 tourists (5.62 percent) spent only a single day in the country.

Recent statistics covering the years 2002-2010 released by the Culture and Tourism Ministry reveal the progress Turkish tourism has made over the last eight years. While in terms of the number of tourists it was ranked 17th among the most visited tourist destinations in 2002, the numbers show that Turkey clinched seventh place in 2009, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

The number of tourist who visited Turkey in 2002 was 13.2 million, whereas the same number rose to 28.6 million in 2009, representing a 117 percent increase.

While 14.29 percent of tourists came from Germany, 11.79 percent came from Russia, 7.95 percent from England, 6.28 percent from Iran, 4.62 percent from Bulgaria, 4.08 percent from the Netherlands, 3.94 percent from France, 3.45 percent from Georgia, 3.11 percent from Syria and 2.28 percent from the US in the first seven months of this year.

Until August, while 2,518,202 tourists visited Turkey from Germany, 2,078,741 from Russia, 1,401,833 from England, 1,107,067 from Iran and 813,976 tourists from Bulgaria chose Turkey as a place for their vacation.

Tourists visiting Turkey this year have mostly entered through border gates in Antalya (33.57 percent), followed by İstanbul (25.41 percent) and Muğla (9.48 percent).

Thanks to its retaining close political and economic relationships with its neighbors, Turkey managed to remove visa requirements for many countries in the region, resulting in a huge increase in incoming and outgoing tourists in the area. However, the political uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, or the Arab Spring, has lead to a significant drop in tourists from those countries visiting Turkey
Germany, Russia and England is again topping the list in the number of tourists visiting Turkey in July. Out of 4,597,475 tourists who visited the country in July, 310,225 tourists (6.75 percent) stayed in Turkey only for a single day.

In July, while Germany sent 602,511 tourists (13.11 percent) to Turkey, 586,905 tourists (12.17 percent) were from Russia, 435,143 (9.46 percent) from England, 242,870 (5.28 percent) from the Netherlands, 191,681 (4.17 percent) from Iran, 186,631 (4.06 percent) from France, 146,162 (3.18 percent) from Bulgaria, 127,527 ( 2.77 percent) from Austria, 127,240 ( 2.77 percent) from Belgium, 124,147 (2.70 percent) from Georgia.

While the number of tourists visiting Turkey was 4,343,025 in July in 2009, this number was 4,358,275 in 2010. In the January-July period, the number of tourists visiting Turkey was 14,933,656 and this number increased to 15,929,702 in 2010.