Turkey, tourism in Istanbul

Foreign tourist trips to Turkey increase by 308%

Tourism to Turkey from European countries, including Russia, is growing notably, but the number of Ukrainian tourists is plummeting.

Foreign tourist trips to Turkey increased by 308.5% during the month of May compared to the same month a year ago, according to recent data from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Eurasian country, which also show notable increases in tourism from Germany, the United Kingdom and even Russia.

According to figures published this week by the ministry, in May some 3.8 million foreigners travelled to Turkey, which between January and May received 11.3 million foreign tourists, 207% more than in the same period in 2021.

By country, Germans led the ranking of foreign tourists who visited Turkey, representing 13% of all tourists: specifically, 495,000 Germans spent their holidays in the country, compared to 95,000 who did so in May last year, and the only 396 who travelled to Turkey in May 2020, shortly after the coronavirus pandemic broke out.

The number of British tourists – ranked 2nd, accounting for 10.3% of foreign visits in May – likewise increased last month to a total of 395,000 travellers, compared to just 8,300 Britons who travelled to Turkey in May 2021. Visits by Russian tourists also grew by 1,800%, going from 19,300 in May 2021 to 363,000 in May of this year.

On the contrary, the war in Ukraine did affect tourism from that European country, with the number of Ukrainian tourists falling by 77%: only 54,000 travelled to Turkey last May, while 236,000 did so in May 2021. By 2022, the Turkish government has set a goal for foreign tourist travels to increase to 42 million tourists; likewise, it aims for tourism revenues to reach 35,000 million dollars by the end of this year.