NEWS Tourism        22/05/2020

Coronavirus pandemic brings to a standstill number of foreigners visiting Turkey in April 2020

According to figures published by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the number of foreigners visiting Turkey in April 2020 dropped by 99.3% to 24,238 from 3,293,176 in the same month of the previous year. It is surprising that anybody managed to get into Turkey at all considering that Turkey had closed all its borders throughout April, halting all international passenger flights to Turkey.


The month of May will show the same picture, and international flights to and from Turkey will probably be initiated sometime in June depending on how soon the tailing off of coronavirus cases comes about as expected. Land borders and ports will also likely to be opened in June.


Despite the acceptance of foreign tourists in June, it is very unlikely that the numbers of tourists originally expected will materialise. Many people will be afraid to travel, especially the more elderly. The prospect of being quarantined in a foreign hotel will be daunting for many. Many hotels may decide to give this year a miss, as the precautionary measures which need to be implemented under the new sanitary and social distancing regulations may make opening the touristic facilities costly and impracticable. The hotels will also find it difficult to fill their rooms, and half of the summer season this year would have been over before they had been able to start operations.


Many hotels, especially the smaller family hotels, will be able to rely more on domestic tourism. However, it will remain to be seen whether the Turks will be ready to commit to a holiday in Turkey this year when they have the safety and relative proximity of their own homes. On the other hand, months of being locked down under curfew and mobility restrictions may drive them out in desperation.


The total number of foreigners visiting Turkey in the first four months of 2020 has fallen 51.2% to 4,262,882. The total number of foreigners visiting Turkey in the year 2019 had increased by 14.1% to 45,058,286 compared with the previous year. This figure was a record and before the coronvirus crisis Turkey’s tourism industry was expected to grow further this year and in the years to come. The pandemic has come as a big shock and it will take several years before Turkey will have recouped its 2019 strong market share. The tourism industry will need to adapt to social distancing requirements which may well continue even if a vaccine is found for coronavirus. The general average cost of a holiday abroad will also likely be more expensive, discouraging many potential tourists. The cost to Turkey’s tourism industry and to the Turkish economy as a whole will be severe this year.   


Turkey’s net minimum wage has been raised 49% to TL 17,002 (USD 577) as of 01.01.2024       Migration communication helpline 157 available for foreigners in Turkey       Read our homepage articles on developments in the Turkish economy       Turkey’s official annual inflation rate decreases to 71.60% in June 2024       Turkey’s official unemployment rate is 8.4% in May 2024       Read our BUSINESS section for latest sectoral and corporate news       Turkey’s population is 85,372,377 as of 2023 yearend       No. of foreigners visiting Turkey in 2023 increases 10.4% to 49.2 million       Turkey’s private sector foreign debt is USD 164 billion as of yearend 2023       Turkey’s economy grew 4.5% in 2023       FDI to Turkey is USD 10.6 billion in 2023       Turkey’s current account deficit is USD 45 billion in 2023