tourist in Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

Visa exemption to bring one million more tourists to Turkey

As of March 2, tourists from various European countries, including UK, will be able to travel to Turkey without a visa. 2,5 million British citizens visited Turkey last year.

At least one million more tourists could visit Turkey this year after last week the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Eurasian country decided to eliminate the requirement to apply for a visa for tourist purposes for citizens of the United Kingdom and 5 EU countries.

On February 20, the ministry announced in an official statement that it exempted citizens travelling for tourist reasons from the United Kingdom, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain from a visa, a measure that will enter into force from the 2nd of March and that will allow them to stay for a maximum of 90 days in total, within a period of 180 days from the date of their entry into Turkey. Also yesterday the Turkish government announced that it will extend the measure to tourists from Norway, Croatia, Ireland, Malta and Portugal.

Representatives of the tourism sector agree that Turkey was already a very popular destination among these European nations, so the announcement will further boost arrivals from those countries. It is estimated that of the 45 million foreign tourists that visited Turkey in 2019, about 5.7 million came from these 6 countries, having to pay so far a tourist visa that cost them around 30 euros.

Of the more than 20 million European tourists who traveled to Turkey last year, 2.5 million were British, 1.1 million Dutch, 880,000 Poles, 557,000 Belgians, 401,000 Austrians and 257,000 Spaniards, according to statistical data.

Tourist arrivals from UK will increase by 20% this year

Speaking to Turkish media, the president of the Federation of Turkish Hoteliers (TÜROFED), Sururi Çorabatır, confirmed that these 6 countries were already very important in the tourist and hotel sector of Turkey, highlighting the great potential of Poland, where one of the largest travel agencies in the country recently announced its decision to increase flights to Turkey from April.

In fact, the representatives of the sector had predicted that in 2020 the number of tourists from these 6 European countries will increase above 10%; since the announcement of the visa exemption, the forecasts now predict an increase of even more than 20%. According to Çorabatır, in the rest of the countries “we also expect a growth of over 10%”, specially after in 2019 Turkey already broke all records in tourism.