Turkey Tourism Statistics 2019 VS 2020 The Goal for 2021

In 2020, the Turkish Statistical Institute released a statement about the rise in the number of tourists coming to Turkey. The country welcomed 45,058,286 travelers on its borders and accumulated $34.5 billion in revenues in the tourism sector alone. The highest record, according to statistical records, upsurge by 17%. Turkey's tourism sector is held accountable for at least 12% of the country's economic revenue

Most Visited Places in Turkey

Istanbul takes the first spot as the most visited city, garnering 15 million tourists in the same year. Antalya comes close to 14.5 million tourists savoring the paradise they offer in their Mediterranean Resorts. The northwestern province of Edirne took the third touristic city with 4 million foreign visitors.

With the tropical weather and geographically rich destinations that Turkey offers, it is not surprising that 85% of the 45 million tourists in 2019 were foreigners.  The highest number of nationalities was Russia with 7 million tourists. Germany plays second with 5 million tourists over the same period. The other 15% were Turkish citizens living outside Turkey who come back to the country from time to time. Foreigners mostly spend their money on accommodation and local food. According to the survey, Turkey accumulated 2 billion USD combined for both food and rentals by welcoming other nationalities. All these numbers show that Turkey’s tourism was at its peak for the year 2019.

COVID-19 Impact on Turkey Tourism

Perhaps tourism would have been the same if the pandemic did not take place. The sudden change of events due to health concerns and travel restrictions resulted in the worldwide economic recession. All nations struggle to cope with the lockdowns that began in the first quarter of 2020, and Turkey is not an exception. Most countries established precautionary measures and sanitation training for customer-facing workers. As for Turkey, the government took the initiative to set curfew hours and temporary lockdown for everybody's safety. 

The lack of foreign visitors resulted in a devastating drop in revenue from 34.5 billion USD to 12 billion USD. The culture and Tourism Ministry of Turkey came up with alternative tourism programs with the help of UNWTO. Both organizations aim to prioritize safety in all communities and help the local tourism from a depleting phase caused by COVID. The year Turkey tourism statistics 2020 did not even reach half of the revenues in 2019 and all figures depleted by 75%. 

Data analysts assume that it may take a while before Turkey could get the same number of visitors in the pre-Covid era. Countries currently seek alternatives as a backup for the struggling industry of tourism. Nevertheless, the Turkish Tourism Ministry remains optimistic and aims to welcome 30 million tourists this year. 90% of the country's local tourist facilities resume normal operations. Everyone tries to get back to their rhythm, except that they have to comply with the curfew hours. 

COVID-19 Vaccination to boost Tourism

Turkey also plans to leverage the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. The government awaits a million

Turkey Tourism Statistics 2019 VS 2020 The Goal for 2021

doses of Sinovac, Pfizer, and BioTech's vaccine in the first quarter of 2021. They hope that the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines would gradually increase the number of tourists coming to Turkey this year. In the meantime, the government seeks additional knowledge for sustainable tourism and would like to leverage the sports communities in Antalya.


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