According to figures provided by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUİK - Turkstat), Turkey’s tourism revenue fell by 71.2% in the third quarter of 2020, with a fall of 74.1% in visitors to 5,604,155. Revenue in the third quarter of 2020 was USD 4,044 million compared with USD 14,031 million in the same period of the previous year. The average expenditure per visitor to Turkey increased 11.2% in this quarter from USD 649 in 2019 to USD 722 in 2020.
The Turkish tourism industry had shown a very successful recovery since 2015 when there was a stand-off with Russia over the shooting down of a Russian jet which resulted in a boycott by Russian tourists. Turkish tourism, which broke all records in 2019 and was preparing to attract even more tourists in the years to come, was a valuable source of foreign exchange for the Turkish government at a time when the Turkish economy was in recession. Unfortunately, the Turkish tourism industry has from the beginning of the year been faced with the growing spectre of the coronavirus pandemic. Turkey, in an effort to stem the spread of the virus from abroad, had been forced in the second quarter of this year, to restrict the influx of foreigners. From the beginning of the third quarter however, Turkey has slowly lifted restrictions on the influx of visitors from abroad, but the numbers coming to Turkey have been considerably below the levels seen in the previous year of 2019. The cost to Turkey’s tourism industry and to the Turkish economy as a whole will be severe this year.
Of the 5,604,155 visitors leaving Turkey in the third quarter of 2020, 4,430,053 (79%) visitors were foreign and 1,174,102 (21%) visitors were Turkish citizens living abroad. The average expenditure per foreign visitor to Turkey was USD 649 compared to USD 969 for Turkish citizens living abroad.
The coronavirus pandemic has also taken its toll of Turkish citizens visiting abroad. Their number decreased 93.1% to 203,223 in the third quarter of 2020 compared to the same quarter of the previous year. Their total expenditure abroad was USD 126 million, a decrease of 89.8% on the figure for the same period of the previous year. Their average per capita expenditure was USD 620, compared with USD 417 for the same quarter of the previous year.
With regards the year 2019, Turkey’s tourism revenue grew by 17% to USD 34,520 million, whereas the number of visitors grew by 13.7% to 51,860,042. The average expenditure per visitor to Turkey increased from USD 647 in 2018 to USD 666 in 2019. Of the 51,860,042 visitors leaving Turkey in 2019, 44,712,970 (86.2%) visitors were foreign and 7,147,072 (13.8%) visitors were Turkish citizens living abroad. The average expenditure per foreign visitor to Turkey was USD 642 compared to USD 796 for Turkish citizens living abroad. This compares with USD 617 and USD 801 respectively in 2018. The number of Turkish citizens visiting abroad in 2019 was 9,650,512, a 15.1% increase compared to the previous year. Their total expenditure abroad was USD 4,404 million, a decrease of 10.1% on the previous year. Their average per capita expenditure was USD 456, compared with USD 584 for the previous year