Turkey generates $24.5B in revenues through tourism in 2021

Despite having doubled from 2020, figure still falls behind pre-pandemic levels in 2019, official data shows

Despite a gloomy year amid coronavirus-related mobility restrictions across the world, Turkiye generated $24.5 billion in tourism revenue last year, according to official figures released on Monday.

Though doubling from 2020, the figure for last year fell short of the all-time high of $34.5 billion set in 2019, prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) data showed.

Turkiye welcomed 29.4 million visitors last year, an increase of 85.5% compared to 2020, but down from 51.9 million in 2019.

Average tourism expenditures per capita stood at $1,029 in 2021, up from $926 in 2020.

The data showed that visitors spent the most on food and beverages (nearly $5.4 billion),as well as clothes and shoes ($3.2 billion), last year.

“In this year, while foreign visitors visited Turkey mostly for ‘travel, entertainment, sportive and cultural activities’ with 71.4%, Turkish citizens resident abroad visited mostly for ‘visiting relatives and friends’ with 64.5%,” it said.

Separately, the Culture and Tourism Ministry also announced that foreigner visits to Turkey had surged 94% annually, from 24.7 million in 2020.

Istanbul was the top tourist destination in the country with over 9 million arrivals, accounting for 36.5% of all foreign visitors in 2021.

The Mediterranean resort city of Antalya followed with 8.7 million foreign visitors last year.

The third top destination was the northwestern province of Edirne, which borders both Bulgaria and Greece, welcoming some 2.6 million foreigners.

As for the nationalities of foreign visitors, Russia took first place with 19% — some 5 million visitors — over the same period, followed by Germany (12.5% or 3.1 million) and Ukraine (8.3% or 2.1 million).


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