Bounce-back continues as foreign arrivals in Turkey arises 225.6%

Foreign arrivals in Turkey continue to bounce back, official data for April showed Monday, as the industry washes away the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of foreign visitors arriving in April jumped 225.6% from a year earlier to 2.57 million, the Culture and Tourism Ministry said.

The arrivals compared with a level of below 791,000 foreign visitors in April 2021. Turkey began closing borders and restricting activity in March 2020, when its first COVID-19 cases were recorded.

Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city by population and a top tourist draw, welcomed 40% of all foreign visitors, or nearly 1 million, in April.

It was followed by the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya with 661,609 foreign tourists and Edirne in northwestern Turkey, which borders both Bulgaria and Greece, with 359,303 foreign visitors.

Germany topped the list among nationalities with 15.4%, or nearly 400,000 visitors, followed by Bulgaria (10.5% or 271,000) and the United Kingdom (8.8% or 225,000).

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is expected to impact the arrivals from Turkey’s top tourist sources, just as the sector continues to recover from the outbreak.

Arrivals from January through April surged 172.5% year-over-year to nearly 7.47 million, the data showed, up from 2.74 million a year ago.

The number of Russians arriving last month dropped to 130,150 from 156,133 a year ago. January-April arrivals were down to 490,914, from 552,048 in 2021, the data showed.

Germans topped the list for the first four months of the year with 813,792 tourists, an increase of 338.81% year-over-year, followed by Bulgaria with 679,406, 324.55% year-over-year rise and Iran with 654,631, an increase of 236.77 % from a year ago

The UK came in after Russia to rank No. 5 with 406,490 tourists.

The number of foreign visitors soared 94.1% to 24.71 million and revenues doubled to almost $25 billion last year when COVID-19 measures were eased compared to 2020.

Russians and Ukrainians were the country’s first and third biggest sources of visitors, respectively, in 2021. Russians accounted for 19% of foreign visitors, with 4.7 million people, while Ukraine was the third-largest at 8.3% with 2.1 million people.

Officials had hoped tourism this year could replicate or exceed the numbers from 2019 when some 52 million visitors – including about 7 million Russians and 1.6 million Ukrainians – brought in $34 billion (TL 504.83 billion) in revenue.

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