ANKARA: Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Turkey in October received 3.5 million foreign tourists, which is almost double the number of the corresponding time last year, raising hopes for the upcoming travel season.
The Mediterranean resort city of Antalya and the country’s financial and cultural hub Istanbul were the top destinations in October, hosting 1.6 million and 1.2 million tourists respectively, Xinhua news agency quoted the Culture and Tourism Ministry as saying on Monday.
With its long beaches and luxurious tourism facilities, Antalya is known for its sea-sand-sun tourism.
Meanwhile, Istanbul fascinates foreign travellers for its Byzantine and Ottoman-era landmarks, like bazaars, mansions, and palaces, and hosts the Bosphorus Strait, which divides the European and Asian continents.
The number of foreign travellers visiting the country in the first ten months of this year surged to 21 million, with a 88 per cent increase from the same period last year, the data revealed.
Turkey received a total of 11.2 million tourists in 2020 when the Covid-19 related measures, such as lockdowns and closure of restaurants, were implemented.
The expectation for attracting foreign travellers in 2022 would be much higher than this year, and the country’s tourism agencies launched an early booking campaign “at attractive and affordable prices” for the upcoming season, which will start in May 2022, the tourism representatives said.
After receiving 45 million tourists in 2019 and generating a total of $34.5 billion in revenue, Turkey suffered losses of over 65 per cent in 2020 due to the pandemic.