More than 3 million foreigners visited Turkey in the first two months of 2018, with the tourism sector seeing a significant recovery in the number of arrivals from Europe, official data has shown.
Data from the Tourism Ministry showed on March 30 that this figure represented a 35 percent year-on-year increase.
More than 1.02 million Europeans visited Turkey in the first two months of the year, a 25.6 percent year-on-year increase, the data showed.
Iran topped the list of visitors by country, with over 350,000 arrivals and an 11.7 percent share in total arrivals. Iran was followed by Georgia with over 307,000 arrivals and a 10.3 percent share, and Bulgaria with over 231,374 arrivals and a 7.74 percent share.
The number of foreign arrivals into Turkey surpassed 1.5 million in February, a nearly 32 percent year-on-year increase.
Tourism Minister Numan Kurtulmuş previously said the country hopes to attract at least 38 million tourists in 2018.
In the wake of a series of bomb attacks, a diplomatic crisis with Russia and a failed coup attempt, Turkey’s tourism sector saw a big slump in 2016, with the number of foreign arrivals regressing to 25 million in that year from 36.2 million in 2015.
With a rebound, Turkey hosted over 32 million tourists last year, earning $26.5 billion.
Meanwhile, on March 29 a British travel group told state-run Anadolu Agency that Turkey is continuing to rebound and is on track to return to the level of demand it reached in 2015.
“There are some really key destinations that we’ve really seen improving over the last six months, and we expect them to grow next year. It’s not just Turkey, but Greece and Croatia too. In Turkey we have seen demand come through quite strongly this year, but it has always been a favorite destination,” said Richard Sofer, travel group TUI’s commercial director for the U.K. and Ireland, according to Travel Weekly.
The U.K.’s largest tour operator has released its summer 2019 program with 720,000 additional seats – half of which have been added in Turkey, Greece, and Croatia.