According to figures published by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the number of foreigners visiting Turkey in July 2020 dropped by 85.9% to 932,927 from 6,617,380 in the same month of the previous year. Despite the opening of some borders and international passenger flights to Turkey from some countries being allowed since June, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the number of foreigners entering Turkey has been drastic.
With restrictions on entries across borders and on international passenger flights continuing to be gradually lifted during July, it had been hoped that the number of foreign visitors would have increased substantially in this month. August may however show a further improvement as Russian tourists will be allowed to come to Turkey as of August 1st. Of the 932.927 foreign visitors in July, 529,448 were from OECD countries, with 199,235 visitors from Germany and 74,671 visitors from the UK. The second highest incoming figure was from Ukraine with 152,717 visitors.
The total number of foreigners visiting Turkey in the first seven months of 2020 has fallen 78% to 5,440,406. 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.