Turkey’s tourism industry has seen remarkable growth over the past few years, proof of the country’s continued popularity as a travel destination in defiance of the global economic crisis. Turkey received 18,694,028 visitors in the first 8 months of 2009, up 1.1% in the same period last year, with annual tourist numbers expected to reach 33 million by 2012. British visitors to Istanbul have also recorded incredible growth at 23% in the first 8 months of 2009, whilst a total of 4.18 million tourists arrived in Istanbul globally, a 2.4% year-on-year increase. PricewaterhouseCoopers anticipates that Turkey’s tourism sector will expand by 12.1% between 2010 and 2013. New investments in the tourism sector, a more sophisticated brand of tourism, wider choice of alternatives and the good value of the Turkish Lira for foreign visitors have all contributed to this success.
Turkey is one of the most popular holiday destinations for the British market, with an 11% year-on-year increase in the number of British tourists in to Turkey in 2009. The Mugla region – home to tourism centres Bodrum, Marmaris and Fethiye – is especially popular with tourists from the UK, who make up nearly half of all visitors. With its stunning natural beauty, temperate climate, plentiful activities, historical sites, and excellent resorts and infrastructure, Mugla is one of Turkey’s tourism hotspots.
Istanbul, Turkey’s cultural and financial capital, is proud to be European Capital of Culture in 2010. The city is gearing up for this momentous event with extensive restoration work to important sites, including the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Ataturk Cultural Centre, and other historic monuments. Istanbul will also host a plethora of arts and cultural events across the visual arts, music and opera, performing arts, literature, cinema, museums and traditional arts.
Mr. Ertugrul Gunay, Turkey’s Minister of Culture and Tourism, says: “We are delighted with Turkey’s tourism successes and the continued expansion in visitor numbers to Turkey despite the economic downturn. Looking ahead, we’re confident that Turkey’s tourism industry is poised for even further growth. We’re also very excited to be host to Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture, showcasing the city as an international capital of culture and art.”