ANKARA: Nearly 7.8 million foreigners visited Turkey in the first four months of 2018, the Culture and Tourism Ministry announced on Thursday.
The ministry said that the figure rose by 32.55 percent on a yearly basis, up from 5.87 million in January-April last year. Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city by population and one of its top tourist draws, saw the highest number of visitors, with nearly 3.9 million in the four-month period.
The Mediterranean resort city Antalya came in second, with 1.06 million foreign visitors. As for the nationalities of foreign visitors, Iran took first place with 11.02 percent — some 860,000 visitors — over the same period, followed by Germany (8.63%) and Georgia (8.37%). Official data showed that air was the preferred means of transport, with 8.23 million travelers, while 3.5 million used roads and around 235,000 came by sea.
In April, 2.65 million foreigners also visited the country, up 28.27 percent from April 2017. In 2016, some 35 million foreigners visited the country, in the midst of a tourism slowdown after the Fetullah Terrorist Organization’s defeated coup, but the sector improved in 2017
Turkey expects 40 million tourists from abroad this year, according to private sector representatives and officials.
Culture and Tourism Minister Numan Kurtulmus has set the country’s 2023 targets as 50 million tourists and $50 billion in income.