Turkey’s popular holiday destination Antalya, on the Mediterranean coast, welcomed more than 186,000 foreign tourists in January, according to the head of the Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TÜROFED).
“Foreign tourist arrivals in Antalya increased by 31 percent and marked the highest number of foreign tourist visits on record for the month of January,” Sururi Çorabatır said.
Antalya is particularly popular among German and Russian tourists, but the city has been attracting more visitors from countries such as Poland, Slovakia, Albania, Czechia and Romania, according to Çorabatır.
He noted that the coronavirus outbreak may have some impact on the tourism industry.
“Tourism activity in Istanbul, the Cappadocia region and Pamukkale could lose steam, but this should not last too long. I do not think the Turkish tourism will be adversely affected,” Çorabatır said.
Visits from China may slow, but this possible decline could be compensated by attracting tourists from other markets, he added.
Early reservation figures suggest that the tourism sector will record a double-digit growth this year, according to Çorabatır.
“We have already seen increases in the number of tourist arrivals in Antalya and Istanbul at the start of the year. If other regions experience a similar demand, Turkey will host more than 57 million tourists in 2020,” he said.
Last year, 14.6 million foreign tourists visited Antalya, some 32.5 percent of all international visits, while Istanbul welcomed 14.9 million holidaymakers, which corresponded to 33 percent of the total.
In 2019, Turkey generated a total of $34.5 billion in tourism revenues by hosting nearly 52 million international holidaymakers.
The country aims for higher tourism revenues over the next three years.
The government’s revenue targets for 2020 and next year are $34.3 billion and $40 billion. The government projects that revenues from international tourism activities will rise to $46.5 billion in 2022.
Cruise ship visits rise
On a related note, the number of cruise vessels docked at Turkish ports increased to 344 last year from 247 in 2018.
The number of visits by cruise ships peaked in August, with 67, and July, with 59, Anadolu Agency said, citing data from the Directorate General of Coastal Safety.
Those cruise ships served a total of 301,000 passengers in the whole of 2019. Of those some 35,000 were incoming passengers, 44,000 were outbound travelers, while the remaining 221,000 were transit passengers.
The resort town of Kuşadası on the Aegean coast was the major destination for cruise ships. Last year, 197 such vessels visited the popular resort town.