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Turkish Tourism: Up to 6.5 million fewer international tourists this year

Turkey saw a double-digit drop in foreign visitor numbers in March and could end up with between 3.1 million and 6.5 million fewer international tourists this year, according to a leading market researcher.

The series of terror attacks in various parts of the country and the dispute with Russia combined to generate a 12.8% fall in foreign visitor numbers to 1.65 million in March, according to official statistics from the country’s tourism ministry. The number of German visitors dropped by 17.1% to 230,000 while the Russian market collapsed by nearly 59% to just 24,000 visitors.

Turkish market researcher Erol Karabulut, who operates the ‘turizmdatabank’ website, has warned that the country faces the loss of several million tourists this year. In his ‘Turkey package holiday report 2015’, made exclusively available to fvw, the experienced researcher has come up with four potential scenarios for this year.

His ‘best case’ scenario is that the number of Turkey visitors drops by ‘only’ 3.1 million (or 8.7%) in 2016 while tourism earnings would decline by 14.2% to €3.2 billion. But his ‘worst case’ forecast is for a dramatic decline of 18.1% - or 6.5 million fewer visitors – along with a 29.3% fall in tourism earnings, equivalent to €6.6 billion.

In any case, it will definitely be a tough year for tourism in Turkey,” Karabulut said. “But because the tourism industry did not cause the crisis, it can do little to end it again rapidly.”

In 2015, the number of foreign visitors to Turkey declined by 1.6% to 36.2 million, according to his report.

The German market performed well with a 6.3% increase to 5.6 million visitors. But the Russian market slumped by 18.5%, or 800,000 tourists, to 3.6 million visitors due to the much weaker rouble, while the British market dropped by 3.4% to 2.5 million visitors.

In terms of destinations, Istanbul welcomed 12.4 million visitors last year, a rise of 4.8%. In contrast, Antalya saw international arrivals fall by 5.3% to 10.8 million, the report showed.

Read more: Tornos News | Turkish Tourism: Up to 6.5 million fewer international tourists this year

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