Turkey’s tourism sector made a good start to 2018, with nearly 1.5 million foreigners visiting the country in the first month of the year.
Data from the Culture and Tourism Ministry released on Feb. 28 showed that the number of foreign arrivals saw a 39 percent year-on-year increase in January.
Iran became the top tourist market for Turkey in January, with 154,296 people from Iran visiting Turkey in the month. Iranians therefore took a nearly 11 percent of share in total foreign arrivals in the mentioned period.
Georgia and Bulgaria followed Iran with 150,849 arrivals and 119,296 arrivals respectively. Germany followed, with 86,875 arrivals. The number of German arrivals to Turkey saw a 10.3 percent year-on-year increase in January and Germans took a 5.94 percent share in overall arrivals.
Some 68,344 Russians visited Turkey in January with a 70.3 percent year-on-year increase, making Russia the fifth top tourism market for Turkey with a 4.68 percent share in total arrivals.
Rise in hotel occupancy rates
Meanwhile, hotel occupancy rates and room prices also saw a significant increase, STR Global data showed on Feb. 28.
The Hotels Association of Turkey (TÜROB) said in a statement to announce the latest STR Global data that Turkey’s hotel occupancy rates rose to 60.6 percent in January, with a 28.6 percent year-on-year increase. This was the highest increase in all European destinations, according to the data.
Average room prices also rose to 60.1 euros in January, with a 10.4 percent year-on-year increase.
Bookings for this summer have also soared. For instance, early figures for this year show a shift by British travelers toward east of Spain for summer 2018, and “Turkey the stand-out market so far,” according to Thomas Cook executives.
A top official from Corendon Tourism on Feb. 8 said that the company saw an almost 100 percent year-on-year increase in summer bookings for Turkey, with a significant surge in demand from the Dutch and Belgian markets.
Similar good news is also coming for Germany and Russia, Turkey’s top markets.
Due to a series of bomb attacks, a diplomatic crisis with Russia and a failed coup attempt, Turkey’s tourism sector took a big hit in 2016. The negative impact of these developments also continued in the first months of 2017.
Nearly 1 million foreigners visited Turkey in January last year, a 9.8 percent year-on-year decrease, despite an 81.5 percent year-on-year increase in Russian arrivals with the normalization in bilateral ties between Ankara and Moscow.
The overall number of foreign arrivals in Turkey rose to 32.4 million for the whole of 2017 with a 27.8 percent year-on-year increase, mainly thanks to the surge in Russian visitors.