Turkey aims to generate $35 billion in tourism revenues in 2022, Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy has said, noting that early holiday reservations are already strong.
“2019 was a very good year when Turkey welcomed nearly 51.7 million foreign tourists and revenues amounted to $34.5 billion. However, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, foreign tourist arrivals and revenues declined to 16 million people and $12 billion, respectively, in 2020,” Ersoy said in a televised interview on Jan. 13.
The minister recalled that while the global tourism activities shrank up to 80 percent during the pandemic, the contraction in Turkey was 68 percent in terms of visitors.
“However, as we had predicted, Turkey witnessed a V-shaped recovery in the tourism industry in 2021. Last year, 29 million tourists visited the country and revenues amounted to $24 billion,” he said, noting that the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) will release the final official data for 2021 at the end of this month and foreign tourist arrivals will probably even exceed the figure of 29 million people last year.
Ersoy also noted that early holiday reservations already increased by 65 percent compared with the last year.
“Campaigns to promote Turkey are aired on TVs in 22 countries. Once the Omicron wave is over, reservations will increase. We are expecting some 2.5 million British holidaymakers.”
The minister hailed the success of the Safe Tourism Certificate scheme, which was launched in the wake of the pandemic.
Under this program, tourist facilities were strictly inspected at least twice a month and the rules were changed as new variants of the coronavirus emerged, according to Ersoy.
“Other countries adopted similar schemes months after Turkey launched it, but they have not been as successful as Turkey. In fact, the Safe Tourism Certificate program has been so successful that it will become permanent and its name will be changed to the Safe and Green Tourism Certificate in 2023,” the minister said.