Turkey welcomes over half million tourists in January

By Gokhan Ergocun

ISTANBUL (AA) – Turkey hosted 509,787 foreign visitors in the first month of 2021, the country’s Culture and Tourism Ministry said on Monday.

The figures decreased 71.48% year-on-year in January from 1.8 million due to the COVID19 pandemic measures, the official data showed.

Istanbul continued to be Turkey’s top tourist hub, attracting nearly 65.7% of foreign visitors — 334,825 persons.

Edirne in northwestern Turkey, which borders both Bulgaria and Greece, saw the second-highest number of foreigners, with 52,698.

The Mediterranean resort city of Antalya followed with 9.22% or 47,023 foreign visitors.

Russians accounted for 17.54% of the visitors, followed by Iranians with 7.45%, Bulgarians with 6.02%, Ukrainians with 5.53%, and Germans with 5.32%.

Last year, more than 12.7 million foreigners entered Turkey amid the pandemic, down from nearly 45.05 million in 2019.

In 2020, Turkey launched a Safe Tourism Certification Program, which covers a broad range of safety measures in transport, accommodation, and health conditions for tourists and hospitality employees.