Tourism, Cappadocia in winter

Turkey ranked 4th as country with most tourism in 2021

Tourism in Turkey and Mexico has emerged stronger after the pandemic, while Spain and Greece have lost tourists.

Turkey ranked 4th as the country with most tourism in 2021, receiving some 29.9 million tourists last year, being surpassed only by France, Mexico and Spain, according to recent data from the World Tourism Organisation, which show that the Eurasian country has been one of those that has experienced growth in the tourism sector after the pandemic.

France led the world ranking with some 40 million tourist visits, while Mexico was in second place with 31.9 million, followed by Spain with 31.2 million visitors. Turkey, with almost 30 million tourists, ranks 4th, surpassing Italy (26.3 million), the United States (22.1 million), Greece (14.7 million), Austria (12.7 million), Germany (11.7 million) and Croatia (10.6 million), which make up the Top 10 of the list.

According to experts, between 2020 and 2021 nearly 1,000 million people were unable to travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, which was a severe blow to the tourism sector globally; however, not all tourist destinations have been affected equally, with Asian and Far Eastern countries bearing the worst part.

This is the case of China, which in 2019 ranked 4th in the world in tourism, and which after becoming the epicentre of the pandemic has almost disappeared from the ranking. Thailand, which in 2019 – before the pandemic – had welcomed 40 million tourists, only received 400,000 last year, falling to 53rd place.

Spain and Greece lose tourists

In Europe, and despite the progressive normalisation, Spain has been one of the most affected countries, losing some 50 million tourists in 2021 compared to 2019; Greece, which at the beginning of 2021 had set itself the goal of receiving 25 million tourists after the 2020 tourist break, was finally only visited by 14.7 million tourists last year.

On the contrary, Turkey and Mexico are two countries that have come out stronger after the pandemic: Mexico, which in 2019 ranked 7th in the ranking of countries with most tourism in the world, ranked second in the world in 2021, thanks in good part of the fact that many American tourists opted for “proximity tourism” due to the uncertainty created by the pandemic.