The number of international tourists travelling to Turkey from January to November this year has exceeded 40 million, representing a 14.5% increase when compared to the same period last year, according to the Turkish Cultural and Tourism Office in Dubai. Contributing to this rise is a significant surge in the number of visitors travelling in from neighbouring GCC nations, with the largest influx from Kuwait, followed by Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE.
Over 40 thousand Emiratis travelled into Turkey during this period while more than 160,000 visitors, inclusive of nationals and expats, travelled from the UAE to Turkey.
“Shopping, medical tourism and gastronomy are some of the biggest draws for tourists visiting Turkey from the GCC countries,” noted Salih Ozer, Attaché of Culture and Information, Turkey to the UAE.“Areas such as Istanbul, Bursa, Yalova, Trabzon and Antalya are all popular with Middle Eastern travellers. Most tourists come to us in the summer period of June to August and the winter months of December to February.”
Of the 40 million plus foreign visitors to Turkey so far this year, the largest faction has travelled in from Russia, with 6.7 million visitors, representing around 16.5% of the total number, and followed by tourists from Germany, the UK and Bulgaria.
This number is expected to receive a boost from the expected influx in December, which signals the arrival of the winter crowds. Turkey has recently experienced a rise in holidaymakers visiting in the winter months to capitalise on the country’s range of ski resorts, winter sports, hot springs and popular thermal centres, in addition to its signature attractions and historical sites.
“We have seen a considerable rise in the number of domestic and international visitors flocking to ski centres in the winter months over the last two years. Last year we received about six million tourists, including overnight visitors, to Turkey’s ski zones.This year we’re expecting even his number to climb, based on figures clocked in the previous years,” Ozer added.