Of the many attractive destinations that Turkiye boasts of, few can match or even come close to the luxury resort city Antalya that is one of the jewels of the Mediterranean coast in the country. Always a hot destination for tourists, domestic and foreign alike, Antalya has seen a bevy of tourists headed this year, too, and it has so far clocked up well over 10 million foreign tourists landing at its airport this year as Türkiye’s famed Mediterranean resort city enjoys its most buoyant summer since the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of foreigners coming to the southern province by air has reached nearly 10.1 million from January 1 through September 15, says Antalya’s Governor Ersin Yazıcı. This marks a 64 pc increase from the 6.15 million foreign visitors who had landed in the city in the corresponding period a year ago.
“These figures include the number of foreigners arriving by air, not those arriving by land. We estimate that we will reach a figure between 12 million and 13 million by the end of the year,” Yazıcı told the state-owned Anadolu Agency (AA).
The resort already well topped the 9 million who arrived throughout the whole of 2021. In 2019, Antalya had received over 16 million foreign visitors in what is dubbed as its best tourism season ever. But the pandemic had brought the numbers crashing down, like elsewhere in the world.
Arrivals in the first half of September also jumped 18 pc year-over-year to more than a million, Yazıcı added.
The big rebound this year has been driven by flocks of tourists from Europe, particularly Germany and the United Kingdom, in addition to arrivals from Russia.
Yazıcı remains optimistic about the flood of tourists to continue well beyond this year, as well. “I believe much more tourists will prefer Antalya next year,” he noted.
Antalya is distinguished with its five-star hotels that combine thematic architecture and luxury along with stunning natural and historical beauties.
Türkiye has attracted over 23 million foreign visitors from January through July, surging 128 pc annually, according to the official data, paving the way for USD 37 billion in tourism revenues sought by the government.
The arrivals have been mainly backed by Russian visitors who opted for Türkiye due to Western flight restrictions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The numbers of German and British visitors also rose strongly.
From January through July, Germans were Türkiye’s top source market with 2.99 million visitors, followed by 2.2 million Russians and 1.8 million Britons, according to the Culture and Tourism Ministry data.
Despite concerns over the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the government raised its year-end targets last month to 47 million tourists and USD 37 billion in revenues, up from its earlier targets of 45 million arrivals and USD 35 billion in income.
Backed by the easing Covid-19 measures, the number of foreign visitors soared 94.1 pc to 24.71 million last year. Tourism revenues doubled to almost USD 25 billion but remained well below the level recorded in 2019.
Russians and Ukrainians were the country’s first and third biggest sources of visitors, respectively. Russians accounted for 19 pc of foreign tourists, with 4.7 million people, while Ukraine was the third-largest at 8.3 pc, with 2.1 million people.
Officials had hoped tourism this year could replicate or exceed the numbers from 2019 when some 52 million visitors – including about 7 million Russians and 1.6 million Ukrainians – brought in USD 34 billion in revenue.