According to figures published by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the number of foreigners visiting Turkey in October 2020 dropped by 59.4% to 1,742,303 from 4,291,574 in the same month of the previous year.
With restrictions on entries across borders and on international passenger flights having been largely lifted by the beginning of August, it has been hoped that the number of foreign visitors will recover substantially in the following months. Indeed, there have been noticeable improvements in September and October compared with previous months. Russian tourists, who have been allowed in as of August 1st, were recorded as 489,836 (a fall of 38.1%) in October. Visitors from Germany were 124,544 (a fall of 80.5%) and visitors from the UK were 60,008 (a fall of 75.4%). The number of visitors from OECD countries in total were 367,786 (a fall of 76.4%). Visitors from Bulgaria, who mostly come for cross-border shopping, held up well with 232,729 (a fall of 10%). Ukraine was a big surprise again with an increase of 13% to 155,254.
The total number of foreigners visiting Turkey in the first 10 months of 2020 has fallen 72.5% to 11,200,892. 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.