NEWS Tourism        01/02/2021

Number of foreigners visiting Turkey falls 71.7% in 2020

According to figures published by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the number of foreigners visiting Turkey in December 2020 dropped by 67.4% to 699,330 from 2,147,878 in the same month of the previous year.


Despite Turkey’s general willingness to accept tourists even in face of the second wave in the coronavirus pandemic appearing in the autumn, the reluctance of people to travel and risk catching the virus has had a detrimental effect on global travel. Indeed, as in the case of Turkey, many of the foreign visitor arrivals now come for reasons other than touristic. In December, a large proportion of foreign arrivals to Turkey were from Bulgaria (102,222) who briefly visit for cross-border shopping, from Russia (90,378) who have property in the Antalya area in particular, and from Germany (47,150) who have close family, business, property and other ties to Turkey.


The total number of foreigners visiting Turkey in the year 2020 has fallen 71.7% to 12,734,213. Of this total, the highest number of foreign visitors were from the following countries :  Russia (2,128,758), Bulgaria (1,242,961), Germany (1,118,932), Ukraine (997,652), UK (820,709), Georgia (410,501), Iraq (387,587), and Iran (385,762).


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 hygienic and social distancing requirements which may well continue even after vaccine programmes have been implemented. 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 has been severe in 2020.   

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 increases marginally to 64.86% in January 2024       Turkey’s official unemployment rate is 8.8% in December 2023       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 164.4 billion as of yearend 2023       Turkey’s economy grew 5.5% in 2022       FDI to Turkey is USD 10.6 billion in 2023       Turkey’s current account deficit is USD 45.2 billion in 2023