Tourism in Turkey

Turkey's tourism sector has shown remarkable stability and expansion, as evidenced by the latest statistics from March 2024. With a significant increase in tourist arrivals, this comprehensive report delves into the details, trends, and strategic implications of the tourism industry’s performance.

Introduction to Tourism Growth in Turkey

In March 2024, Turkey experienced a considerable influx of 2,701,244 tourists, marking a notable increase from the 2,294,579 tourists in February 2024. This progression indicates a robust recovery and a sustained appeal among global travellers.

Current Trends in Tourist Arrivals

Monthly Overview

March witnessed year-on-year growth of 15.7%, though this was a slight slowdown from February’s 22.7% growth rate. The varying growth rates reflect the dynamic nature of tourism inflows, which are impacted by seasonal trends, marketing effectiveness, and external economic factors.

Analysis by Country

  • China: The number of visitors from China soared by 117.4%, reaching 29,200. This surge reflects effective targeting and engagement strategies.
  • Germany: German tourists increased by 64.9% to 357,000, likely due to successful promotional campaigns and strong historical ties.
  • Iran: Showing a 25.9% increase to 310,000 tourists, indicating growing regional mobility.

Conversely, declines were noted in several markets:

  • Saudi Arabia: Experienced a sharp decrease of 58.4%, dropping to 11,700 visitors.
  • Iraq and Russia: Both countries showed reductions in tourist numbers by 35.2% and 6.3%, possibly due to political and economic tensions.
  • Georgia: Saw a decrease of 5.8%, indicating potential logistical or market-specific challenges.

Tourism in Turkey

Quarterly Performance Review

The first quarter of 2024 ended with a robust total of 7 million visitors, a 13.4% increase compared to the previous year. This growth indicates effective strategic planning and the increasing appeal of Turkey’s diverse tourist offerings.

Strategic Insights and Advanced Analytics

Enhanced Data Utilization

Advanced analytics help us understand the complexities of tourist behaviours and preferences. Tools like real-time data integration, downloadable datasets, and alert systems provide stakeholders with the resources to make informed decisions.

Forecasting and Projections

Forecast models suggest a continued upward trend in tourist arrivals, albeit with potential fluctuations due to global economic conditions and competitive dynamics in the tourism market.

Leveraging Technology for Strategic Advantage

  • Interactive Tools: These features allow users to manipulate data for custom analyses, which is crucial for adapting to fast-changing market conditions.
  • API Integration: Enables the seamless use of real-time data within business applications, enhancing operational efficiency and responsiveness to market trends.

Best Travel Tips for First-Time Visitors to Turkey

  1. Learn Basic Turkish Phrases: Knowing simple phrases like "Merhaba" (Hello), "Teşekkür ederim" (Thank you), and "Lütfen" (Please) can go a long way.
  2. Currency and Budgeting: Carry some Turkish Lira for local transactions. Turkey can be budget-friendly, but it is advised that expenses for attractions and meals be planned.
  3. Cultural Etiquette: Dress modestly, especially when visiting mosques. Always ask for permission before taking photographs of people.
  4. Keep Connected: Get a local SIM card to access information and maps and facilitate communication.
  5. Transport Tips: Use public transport in big cities like Istanbul and Ankara. For intercity travel, consider comfortable long-distance buses or domestic flights.

Guide to Turkey's Historical Sites

Turkey's history is rich and varied, with sites dating back to ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman times. Key historical sites include:

  • Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace in Istanbul: Emblems of the city's varied religious and imperial history.
  • Ephesus: Situated close to Selçuk, this ancient city boasts one of the best preservations in the world.
  • Cappadocia: Famous for its surreal landscapes, cave churches, and underground cities.
  • Patara: Home to one of the oldest lighthouses and a beautiful beach near Kalkan.
  • Sumela Monastery: Situated precariously atop a cliff in Trabzon. 

Top 10 Safe Travel Destinations in Turkey

  1. Istanbul: While bustling, it’s well-policed and tourist-friendly.
  2. Antalya: Known for its resorts and beaches, with a high focus on tourist safety.
  3. Izmir: A modern city with a friendly atmosphere.
  4. Cappadocia: Popular with tourists for hot air ballooning and hiking.
  5. Bodrum: Offers a safe environment along with vibrant nightlife.
  6. Kusadasi: Well-liked by international and local tourists.
  7. Bursa: Historically rich and less crowded.
  8. Alanya: Safe for families and solo travellers.
  9. Fethiye: Known for its natural beauty and safety.
  10. Trabzon: Offers a tranquil retreat with a lower crime rate.

Affordable Restaurants in Istanbul

Istanbul offers a variety of dining options that won’t break the bank:

  • Karaköy Lokantası: Serves traditional Turkish dishes in a trendy setting.
  • Hala: Great for sampling street food like kebabs and baklava.
  • Ciya Sofrasi: Known for Anatolian cuisine, located on the Asian side.
  • Van Kahvalti Evi: Best for a traditional Turkish breakfast in Cihangir.
  • Borsam Taşfırın: Offers delicious and affordable Lahmacun (Turkish pizza).

English-Speaking Tour Guides in Ankara

Finding an English-speaking guide in Ankara enhances the touring experience, especially at key sites like:

  • Anıtkabir: The mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Turkey’s founding father.
  • Museum of Anatolian Civilizations: Showcases artefacts from Turkey’s ancient past.
  • Atatürk Forest Farm and Zoo: A pleasant spot for families and history enthusiasts.
  • Haci Bayram Mosque and Temple of Augustus: Offers insights into the city's Roman and Ottoman history. Tour guides are available through travel agencies or at the tourist information centres in the city.

In addition to offering more in-depth explanations of Ankara's landmarks' historical and cultural significance, hiring an English-speaking guide also makes getting around the city easier. Here are some more suggestions for interacting with Ankara guides:

  • Booking in Advance: Book your guide before your visit is often advisable, especially during peak tourist seasons. This ensures availability and often better rates.
  • Certified Guides: Opt for certified tour guides registered with local tourism authorities. This guarantees a certain level of professionalism and knowledge.
  • Custom Tours: Many tour operators and guides offer customisable tours, which can be tailored to your interests, whether focused on history, architecture, or local cuisine.
  • Walking Tours: Consider joining a walking tour. They are a great way to see the city from a local perspective while engaging directly with a knowledgeable guide.
  • Use Tour Apps: If a live guide isn’t an option, consider using tour apps that offer guided tours in English. These can provide flexible, self-paced touring options with substantial background information.

Conclusion: Strategic Implications for Stakeholders

In conclusion, the tourism sector in Turkey continues to thrive, demonstrating strong growth and resilience in early 2024. With a notable increase in arrivals from diverse global markets, particularly from China, Germany, and Iran, Turkey is successfully expanding its reach and appeal. Despite some declines from specific regions, the overall upward trend signifies robust strategic planning and marketing efforts. 

The industry is better able to adjust to shifting trends and hold onto its competitive advantage thanks to advanced analytics and interactive tools. Turkey is well-positioned to sustain its growth trajectory and remain a top destination for international travellers.


  • When is the ideal time to travel to Turkey?

Turkey is most enjoyable in the spring (April to May) and autumn (September to November), when there are fewer tourists and nicer weather.

  • What are the must-see attractions in Turkey?

Turkey's must-see sights include the historic ruins of Ephesus, the unusual landscapes and underground cities of Cappadocia, and the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

  • What kind of visa is needed to enter Turkey?

    Depending on their nationality, many visitors can obtain an e-visa online prior to arrival. Others may need to apply for a visa at a Turkish embassy or consulate. Always check the latest requirements based on your specific nationality.

  • How safe is Turkey for tourists?

    Turkey is generally safe for tourists, though it's advisable to follow standard travel precautions such as avoiding less populated areas at night and staying informed about the local situation through travel advisories.

  • What are the local customs tourists should be aware of in Turkey?

    Respectful attire is essential, especially when visiting mosques or religious sites (covering shoulders and knees, and women may need to cover their heads). Shoes are normally taken off before entering a person's home, especially in places of worship.

  • What are the recommended places for dining in Turkey?

    Istanbul offers many dining options, from street food like simit and kebabs to high-end restaurants. Cities like Antalya and Izmir also offer excellent seafood. For a traditional experience, try a meal at a "meyhane" (tavern) for meze and raki.

  • How should tourists manage transportation within Turkey?

    When travelling long distances, domestic flights are effective. For closer cities, buses are plentiful and comfortable. In urban areas, metros, trams, and taxis are convenient. Renting a car provides flexibility, especially in less accessible regions.


Apply for Turkey visa:

  • Online Application: Fill out the visa application with your passport details.

  • Payment: Use a credit card to make an online payment.

  • Email Confirmation: After payment confirmation, your visa will be emailed to you.

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