Official data released by the Tourism Ministry yesterday showed 2017 ended on 32.4 million foreign arrivals to Turkey, a 27.8% increase on 2016. Russian tourists topped the list hitting an all-time high in terms of tourist numbers with an impressive 4.7 million gracing our shores.
The increase in Russian visitors was by far the most significant. Russians topped the tourist numbers with over a 14.6% share in total arrivals during 2017, 444% up on the previous year. As expected, Antalya hosted the majority of Russian holidaymakers, 3.8 million in total, with others visiting Istanbul and other popular coastal tourist resorts.
Russian visitors were not the only foreigners to return last year. Stats showed that the number of Germans visiting Turkey also rose by over 11% to 3.6 million. Iranians came in third with 2.5 million arrivals taking a 7.7% share.
This positive news should go some way to boost local business confidence for the coming year, a time when all of us involved in tourism are eager to see a rise in business, investors and arrivals, says Suleyman Akbay, MD at Oceanwide Properties.
As we have reported in the past, the government are confident that 2018 will beat 2014 foreign arrival figures, and so far, tour operators and industry specialists are saying that early bookings are up significantly for the summer season. It is hoped that 2018 will see well in excess of 36 million tourists meaning we can all enjoy a profitable year to come.
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