Turkey is a famous tourist destination worldwide. There is no wonder it greets millions of travellers annually. Due to the country’s location between Southeastern Europe and Western Asia, many tourist attractions draw impact from both the West and the East. In addition, its tremendous historical and cultural diversity makes it a unique destination.
Istanbul is the most well-known destination in Turkey for international visitors- the Bosphorus Strait separates its districts across Europe and Asia. Additionally, Ankara, Izmir, and Cappadocia are some of the famous tourist cities of Turkey.
Turkey’s nature and landscapes are other main factors of tourism in the transcontinental country, ranging from the Kaçkar Mountains to the peaceful coastlines of the Turkish Riviera. As a result, the whole contribution of travel and tourism to Turkey’s GDP reached more than 525 billion Turkish liras in 2021. However, this number rose roughly 61% compared to 2020. Nevertheless, it remained below pre-pandemic levels (Source: Statista).
Likewise, travel and tourism contributed to employment in Turkey just partly recovered in 2021, with around 2.4 million jobs from the sector generated directly and indirectly (Source: Statista).
If you decide your dream trip destination is Turkey, you must learn more about Turkey’s tourism statistics. So, let’s shed light on them!
Turkey’s Top Tourism Statistics
- The number of outbound visiting Turkey rose 12.3% year-on-year to 2.3 million in March of 2023 (Source: tradingeconomics.com).
- In Feb 2023, Turkey’s visitor arrivals touched more than 1.86 million tourists, reaching more than 1.99 million in the month before (Source: ceicdata.com).
- The total number of tourists from January to March 2023 reached more than 7.7 million (Source: Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Turkey).
- Turkey’s tourism income was roughly raised twice in 2021 over the previous year. Overall, tourism spending by international travellers and Turkish citizens resident abroad represented nearly 46.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2022 (Source: Statista).
- Tourist arrivals in Turkey are predicted to reach 237.89 million by the end of this quarter (Source: tradingeconomics.com).
- Generally, inbound travellers totalled almost 30 million in 2021, rising from around 16 million in 2020 (Source: Statista).
- In 2019, Turkey ranked the world’s sixth most famous tourist destination (Source: Statista).
- Overall, domestic travellers recorded nearly 53 million trips in 2021 (Source: Statista).
- Overall, the expenditure of domestic travellers surpassed pre-pandemic figures in 2021 and spiked by almost 25.5 billion Turkish liras (Source: Statista).
- In 2021, Russia was Turkey’s leading inbound travel country based on the volume of tourist arrivals. The number of travellers from Russia totalled nearly 4.7 million in 2021 (Source: Statista).
- Istanbul ranked 20th among the world’s most famous cities in 2021(Source: worlddata.info).
- In 2021, Istanbul – Turkey’s first leading tourist destination– welcomed almost nine million inbound travellers (Source: Statista).
- On average, each tourist arriving in 2020 spent approximately 819 USD (Source: worlddata.info).
- In 2019, the number of tourist receipts in Turkey amounted to $ 41.42 billion (Source: worlddata.info).
Turkey’s Most Visited Destinations
Booming tourism in Turkey in the last years has been eye-catching- which could be due to several reasons, including the diversity of historical sites in various cities of Turkey, the seaside resorts along its Aegean and Mediterranean Sea coasts, the combination of breathtaking natural charming and cultural sites, and great food.
Turkey recorded around 51 million foreign tourists, ranking as the sixth-most-popular tourist destination in the world in 2019. Moreover, after this overall view of Turkey’s tourism, we know you still have more things that need to be more clearly related to tourism in Turkey, so let’s dig deeper to learn more about its most visited destinations and charming sites.
Istanbul – The Marvellous City in Turkey
Istanbul is known for its incredible history, charming Bosporus, and beautiful views. So, let’s look a bit deeper to learn more about the city. The former name of Istanbul was Constantinople. It is Turkey’s largest city and the world’s 15th-largest city. It serves as the country’s economic, cultural and historical centre. The famous city has a long history recognised not only in Turkey but also around the world, as it was the capital of several great empires at different historical times.
The city steps over the Bosporus Strait and stretches between Europe and Asia. The unique location of the city attracts many visitors annually. The city has a population of over 15 million residents, which amounts to 19% of the people of Turkey; it is also the most populous European city.
The History of the City
Some narratives say the city’s history goes back to prehistoric times- when it was established as Byzantium by Greek settlers from Megara in the 7th century BCE. Then, the Roman emperor Constantine, in 330 CE, made it his imperial capital, renaming it first as New Rome and then as Constantinople (Constantinopolis) relative to his name.
The city developed and grew in its power and influence, then became a lighthouse of the Silk Road. It was one of the most essential cities in history during that period. Istanbul was the capital city of the great empires besides the Roman Empire, such as the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire.
Istanbul became a centre of the Islamic world during the Ottoman Empire from 1517 until 1924, when it was abolished. So when you visit Istanbul, it is possible to bump into a historical place even though it’s one of the most magnificent cities in Turkey.
Istanbul was replaced with Ankara as the new capital after the new Republic of Turkey. However, it is still Turkey’s most essential city in different sectors, including tourism, industry, economy, etc.
The Beauty of the City
The impressive silhouette of Istanbul combines both historical sites and monuments. Simultaneously, the skyline covers monumental minarets with skyscrapers and plazas. The historical peninsula and the Bosphorus offer great views of the city. After you’ve explored Istanbul from the ground level, it’s a great option to head upwards and watch out for the city’s beautiful views from above.
Plenty of great places and viewpoints allow you to enjoy a panoramic view of Istanbul, from historical sites like mosques, towers and palaces to rooftop terraces to groves and hilltops.
The well-known French writer, poet and translator Gerard De Nerval said about Istanbul after visiting it: “Istanbul is a magical seal which unites Europe and Asia since ancient times. Without a doubt, Istanbul is certainly the most beautiful place in the world.”
Istanbul’s Interesting Tourism Statistics
- The figure of foreign tourists arriving in Istanbul recorded the second-highest value in 2019, reaching almost 15 million (Source: Statista).
- In 2021, the number of tourists totalled slightly over nine million, then peaked in 2022 at 16 million (Source: Statista).
- In 2021, Galata Tower Museum was recorded as the most visited museum in Istanbul among the museums affiliated with the Directorate of Culture and Tourism in Turkey (Source: Statista).
- The museum attracted almost 752 thousand visitors that year. Istanbul Archaeology Museums ranked second, registering 214 thousand visitors (Source: Statista).
- Istanbul was the leading destination in Turkey, depending on the volume of international tourist arrivals in 2021(Source: Statista).
If you still have questions about the wonderful city after the amazing facts and numbers, let’s learn more about its beautiful attractions.
Amazing Attractions in Istanbul
Hagia Sophia Mosque, or Ayasofya as it is spelt in Turkey, is one of Istanbul’s most famous tourist historical landmarks. It has an exciting history. In the beginning, the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, I built it as a cathedral between 532-537. After the Ottoman conquest, Sultan Mehmet Fatih turned Ayasofya into a mosque.
That transformation was not the only one in the life of Ayasofya; the building, which is history, goes back almost 1,500 years and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the era of the Republic and was turned into a museum in 1934. It came back again to be a mosque in 2020. Visiting the mosque can be like transmission through time, in addition to its incredible architecture and design. Don’t miss it should be on your must-visit list when visiting Istanbul.
The historical attraction is the Galata Tower, which is accepted as one of the oldest towers in Turkey and the world. The tower was listed on the provisional list of UNESCO World Heritage in 2013. It was built as a watchtower within the Galata Walls. In 2020, it started to serve as an exhibition space and museum after it was used for different purposes in different periods.
It is still towering, attracting residents and foreigners to take unique memorial photos. The tower’s height of 67 metres offers a panoramic view of Istanbul in a scene that mirrors the city’s charming beauty.
If you want to live a royal day, go back to the age of the Ottoman sultans and what the palaces from which they ran the great empire looked like. Hence, the grandeur and beauty of the designs, Istanbul provides you with numerous essential palaces in the Ottoman style, full of luxury and beauty, such as Dolmabahçe Palace, Topkapi Saray, Beylerbeyi Palace and others.
The Grand Bazaar is considered one of the world’s oldest and largest covered markets. Find everything you imagine and what you can buy, starting from clothes, perfumes, jewellery, spices, and more.
Antalya- The Tourism Capital of Turkey
Antalya is a province and the fifth most populous city in Turkey. The charming city is accepted as the “Capital of Tourism” in Turkey. Especially in summer, the number of tourists increases. It is entirely located in the West of the Mediterranean Region and was established between the Antalya Gulf and the Western Taurus Mountains.
The city of Antalya developed speedily due to the advantageous climatic conditions and tourism features. The economic life of Antalya depends to a large extent on trade, agriculture and tourism. In the next lines, we will shed light on the city’s history, tourist factors, and tourist attractions.
The History of the City
The ancient city was first settled around 200 BC by the Attalid dynasty of Pergamon, which the Romans soon conquered. Antalya has housed many civilisations from prehistoric times to the present. It is the province with the most ancient cities in Turkey.
There were great empires, such as the Roman Empire, the Byzantine, the Seljuks, and the Ottomans, governed the city. It is no wonder the city is full of historical areas left over from those eras and empires over the centuries. The city has a gem of historic spots waiting to be discovered; the adventure deserves your time!
The Beauty of the City
In addition to the historical places, the city is a rich tourist destination full of different features that satisfy everyone. Antalya’s coastline, stretching along the Gulf of Antalya, looks enchanting, and the towering cliffs offer magnificent views of the distant mountains. Several beautiful beaches in Antalya are perfect for relaxation. The Roman-era harbour is a great place to take a break and enjoy the sea breeze.
As a result of the different charming features and tourism factors in Antalya enables you to do many types of tourism, especially cultural tourism, sea, sports, health, and faith tourism. There are facilities for these tourism options. It was not called the tourism capital of Turkey for nothing!
So, after that overall view of history and beauty in Antalya, let’s be more accurate and speak with numbers!
Antalya’s Interesting Tourism Statistics
- The number of tourists visiting Antalya between January and December 2022 was more than 13 million.
- In 2019, the number of tourists visiting Antalya was more than 15 million.
- In January-February 2023, the number of tourists coming to Antalya reached 450,000; however, it was 289,000 in the same period of 2022.
- With around 8.7 million inbound arrivals, Antalya was the second-leading tourist destination in 2021 (Source: Statista).
- Antalya receives tourists at a daily rate of approximately 70,000 visitors per day, increasing 17% over the average daily rate of visitors.
- Russian tourists ranked first, with 4.752 million Russian tourists in Antalya, while German tourists came second, with 2.85 million.
After these numbers and facts, let’s learn more about Antalya’s amazing attractions and top spots!
Amazing Attractions in Antalya
Suppose you are looking for the charming beauty of nature. In that case, Düden Waterfall is undoubtedly one of the most brilliant natural shows to see in the city.
The waterfalls are located in the northeast of Antalya. They ended where the waters of the Lower Düden Falls dropped off a rocky crag directly into the Mediterranean Sea. A group of Düden Waterfalls consists of Upper Düden Waterfalls and Lower Düden Waterfalls. Antalya can amaze you with the plenty of things you can do there. The maze-like Kaleiçi neighbourhood was made for strolling.
Summer and beach lovers will enjoy a lot of the diversity of beaches and resorts in Antalya, and there is a lot you can discover there, such as Konyaalti Beach, Lara Beach, and many others. In addition to theme and water parks, the city also has an amazing and unique aquarium. Enjoy the incredible trip to one of the largest aquariums in the world.
Historical adventure to Aspendos, this archaeological site is home to a Roman theatre commonly thought to be the best retained in the world. Suppose you have a short time but are keen to seal in as many highlights of the Antalya region as possible. In that case, the Aspendos, Perge and Manavgat Waterfalls tour enables you to cover three of the most famous attractions all in one day.
Try the cable car in Antalya, a different adventure worth experiencing, a tour around the city that lets you take a panoramic view from above! It really deserves the title of the capital of tourism in Turkey, as the talk about its features and beauty does not end but let us go back again to the tourism statistics in Turkey and reveal more ambiguities through some common questions.
Frequently Asked Questions About Turkey’s Tourism Statistics
If you still need answers, we’ve got you covered!
How many tourists visit Turkey each year?
Tourist arrivals in Turkey averaged around 184.84 million from 1993 until 2023. In 2019, Turkey welcomed more than 51.7 million visitors.
Which country do visitors come from to Turkey the most?
In 2021, Russia was Turkey’s leading inbound travel market based on the volume of tourist arrivals. The number of travellers from Russia totalled nearly 4.7 million in 2021 (Source: Statista).
What rank is Turkish tourism?
Turkey was the 4th most visited country in the world in 2021.
Is Turkey budget-friendly?
Turkey is a budget-friendly city, significantly since the Turkish Lira is declining in value.
We have come to the end of our tour to Turkey! We hope this article was helpful enough to guide you on your next trip!