Istanbul and the Bosphorus, a top destination for tourism

Turkey has lost 70% of tourists due to the coronavirus pandemic

In March, when the coronavirus outbreak broke out, Turkey received just over 700,000 foreign tourists. There was also a drop in tourism revenues.

The number of tourists as well as tourism revenues in Turkey suffered a drastic fall -in some cases close to 70%- during the first quarter of 2020 due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the latest official data published only a few days ago.

According to figures published on April 30 by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Eurasian country received last March -when the first cases of COVID-19 were declared in Turkey- only 718,097 foreign tourists, representing a 67.83% less compared to the same month of the previous year. Adding the visits of Turkish citizens residing abroad, Turkey received 968,537 tourists in March, a fall of 64.73%.

In the first quarter of the year Turkey welcomed 4,238,644 foreign visitors, 22.11% less than in the same period in 2019, according to official figures from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK); arrivals of Turks living abroad -mainly in Europe- were also reduced, which totalled 1,213,356 in the first quarter, 14.41% less than the previous year. Adding them all up, Turkey welcomed 5.4 million tourists between January and March, that is a 20.52% less.

Fall in tourism revenues

Tourism revenues also suffered a severe blow during the first quarter in Turkey, reaching 3.75 billion euros, a figure that represents a drop of 11.4% compared to the same period last year.

By country of origin, the main tourist visits to Turkey came from Bulgaria, Germany and Georgia, while the most visited cities were Istanbul, Edirne and Antalya.

Turkey’s government plans to gradually open the country to visits by foreign tourists starting in June and even introduce internationally certified “coronavirus-free destinations” once contagions from the COVID-19 pandemic are sufficiently reduced; however, it is still unclear whether countries like Germany will allow its citizens to travel abroad this year.