Conexio consulting

How did Turkey become a top 5 destination for foreign tourists?

The tourism industry worldwide has almost returned to pre-pandemic levels as of last year, according to the latest data, and has reached 90 percent of its pre-pandemic level with 975 million people traveling in 2023, according to data released by the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

In the report published by market research company Euromonitor International in December 2023, two Turkish cities were on the list of the most visited countries in the world. Istanbul topped the list of the most visited cities by foreign visitors with 20 million visitors, while Antalya, the capital of tourism, ranked fourth with 16.5 million visitors. Annual growth in Istanbul is projected to reach 26 percent in 2023, and 29 percent in Antalya. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has also announced that the number of tourists visiting Turkey in 2023 will increase by 10 percent to 56.7 million.

Travel writer Stacey Leasca, who wrote for the BBC about how Istanbul has overtaken many world capitals and Antalya has overtaken cities such as Paris, Hong Kong and New York, said that Antalya has long been a popular destination for German, Russian and British tourists, attracted by its stunning Mediterranean waters, 300 days of sunshine a year and its history. According to Leasca, the increase in flights to Antalya has also played an important role.

According to travel writer Stacey Leasca, as of this year, tourists from the US, Canada and Mexico will no longer need to obtain an electronic visa if their trip is less than 90 days, which could lead to an increase in the number of tourists, while the depreciation of the Turkish lira against the dollar makes Turkey an economically preferable destination for foreign tourists.However, Turkey’s health tourism is also booming, boosting the numbers. Noting that Istanbul and Antalya are particularly popular destinations for health tourism, travel writer stacey leasca points out in her article that many tour operators offer all-inclusive health tourism services and arrange accommodation, while sports activities and health tourism make the cities popular for tourists.