Photo: Tourists visiting Celsus Library at the ruins of Efes in Kusadasi, Turkey, on April 28, 2019. Nataliya Nazarova/

Islamic Lifestyle

Turkey tourism revenues surge 17% as visitors hit 51.86 mln in 2019, Saudi tourists plunge 44%

Turkey’s tourism income for 2019 reached $34.52 billion, a growth of 17% compared to $29.5 billion the previous year.

The Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) said in a statement on Jan 31 that individual expenditures constituted $25.36 billion and the remaining $9.16 billion came from package tours.

Visitors spent around $1.1 billion on food and beverages, about $655.6 million on clothes and shoes, and $605 million on accommodation.

The increase in tourism receipts was supported by a 13.7% rise in number of visitors to 51.86 million.

86.2% of these visitors were foreign and 13.8% were Turkish citizens resident abroad, said TUIK.

73.6% of foreign visitors said they were in Turkey for travel, entertainment, sportive and cultural activities.

Visitors from five countries accounted for 37.45% of all arrivals. Russians accounted for 7.02 million of all tourists, followed by 5.03 million from Germany, 2.71 million from Bulgaria, 2.56 million from the UK, and 2.1 million from Iran.

Turkish citizens resident abroad increased by 15.1% to 9.65 million in 2019 compared to the previous year.


There was a 43.76% plunge in visitors from Saudi Arabia, according to Salaam Gateway calculation of data from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Visitors from the Gulf Arab country dropped to 25,030 in 2019 compared to 44,508 in 2018.

There were also noticeable drops in the number of visitors from other Muslim-majority countries the UAE, Lebanon, and Algeria.

5,084 tourists came from the UAE in 2019 from 5,501 in 2018, a decrease of 7.58%. There was a 27.48% drop in tourists from Lebanon to 17,432, and a 17.62% decrease from Algeria to 19,428.

However, most other Muslim-majority countries saw increases in tourism to Turkey.

Kuwaiti tourists led the biggest rise from the Gulf countries, with 34.09% more visiting the country to 21,776 in 2019.

30.31% more tourists came from Indonesia to reach 15,639 last year.

There were also healthy increases in numbers from Morocco (20.20% to 16,568), Pakistan (17.85% to 10,213), Qatar (11.85% to 14,918), and Egypt (10.17% to 14,026).

The Turkish government has set a target of 58 million visitors and $44 million in tourism revenues for 2020.

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