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Türkiye Logs Record Tourism Revenue as Foreign Arrivals Leap

Asurge in foreign arrivals has helped Türkiye generate an all-time high tourism revenue in the third quarter, official data showed Tuesday, signaling that the country is all but sure to achieve its record year-end targets.

The number of tourists arriving in September rose 5.7% year-over-year to 5.8 million, the Culture and Tourism Ministry data showed. It brings the first nine-month figure to 39.2 million, a 12.6% increase compared to a year ago.

Tourism is a critical source of revenue for Türkiye as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government focus on reducing the current account deficit to tackle stubborn inflation.

Separate data on Tuesday showed tourism income in the third quarter rose 13.1% year-over-year to a record $20.2 billion. It lifts the January-September figure to $42 billion, a 20.1% increase from a year ago, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) said.

Last year’s complete rebound from the pandemic fallout saw the number of tourists near a record, generating all-time high revenues and prompting the government to raise its annual estimates.

The government anticipates 60 million foreign arrivals and income rising to $56 billion this year.

Combined with Turkish citizens living abroad, the number of visitors rises to 45.2 million in January-September, an increase of 12.4% from the same time last year. The figure in September alone reached over 6.5 million, versus the previous year’s 6 million, Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said.

Ersoy highlighted the impact of global inflation on the decreasing duration of stays for foreign tourists, a trend he said was also observable in Türkiye.

The average length of stay during the first nine months of the year decreased by 6%, dropping from last year’s 10.1 nights to 9.5 nights, he told a press conference on Tuesday.

He expressed predictions that the per capita nightly expenditure of tourists would rise to an average of $100 this year. Visitors’ average total expenditures per capita stood at $902 in the July-September period.

He said the per capita nightly expenditure stood at $85 in the first quarter, $112 in the second and $103 in the third, estimating that it would decrease to $96 in the last three-month period.

In 2022, the average nightly spending stood at $89.

Spending on sports, education and culture surged by 33.3%, on accommodation by 26.1%, and on food and beverage by 24.6%, while tour services expenditures dropped 1.6% year-over-year in the third quarter.

This year’s momentum has been driven by an influx of holidaymakers from Europe, particularly Germany and the United Kingdom, besides arrivals from Russia, mainly due to flight restrictions imposed by Western nations over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

More than 5.16 million Russians arrived in the first nine months to top the list among nations, followed by Germany at over 4.8 million, and the United Kingdom at 3.16 million.

Some 2.15 million arrived from Bulgaria, while arrivals from Iran totaled about 1.87 million, the Culture and Tourism Ministry data showed.

Foreign arrivals surged 80.33% to 44.6 million in 2022, just shy of the peak of 45.1 million in 2019.

Income climbed 53.4% to a record high of nearly $46.3 billion as the lingering effects of the pandemic dissipated and Russian arrivals rocketed after Moscow invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Tourism contributes about 10% to Türkiye’s gross domestic product (GDP). In addition, around 1.7 million people worked in accommodation and food services in 2022 – about 5% of total employment.

The government sees foreign arrivals reaching 90 million in 2028. For the income, it sees it rising to $100 billion.

Source: Daily Sabah