Turkish Tourism - Visitor Numbers Outperform Forecasts

Speaking during a visit to London, Turkish Tourism Minister Numan Kurtulmuş announced that by the end of the year, Turkey would have welcomed around 31.4 million overseas visitors for 2017 – these visitors will have generated revenues of $26 billion, some 30% higher than the $20 billion predicted by the Finance Ministry last month.

Kurtulmuş told Reuters that good things were expected for 2018, with around 37 million visitors generating revenues of $30 billion – these will be realised by an ongoing upward trend in visitor numbers, coupled with planned new incentives for tour operators and agents.

This will be a welcome return to form for the industry following a poor 2016 season, in which revenues fell to $22.11 billion from $31.46 billion the previous year.

Kurtulmuş said that the Parliamentary Cabinet were soon to sign off on proposed new incentives to tour operators, offering them as much as $9,000 for every aircraft bringing overseas visitors into the country. The industry is also placing greater emphasis on other sectors, including  health and sports tourism – there is also an expected revival in the cruise business, a sector that has fared particularly poorly in the last couple of years.

The Top 5 visiting nationalities for the year to date were Russians, Germans, Iranians, Georgians and Brits – top 5 busiest border gates were Istanbul, Antalya, Edirne, Artvin and Mugla.

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