Tourism in Turkey, especially international tourism, which is a strong source for the country’s economy, shrank by 78% in the first seven months of 2020, in conjunction with the spread of the global Coronavirus epidemic, as Turkey received only 4.5 million foreign tourists during the year 2020.
The tourism market in Turkey has grown significantly in recent years, and it has become 11% of Turkey’s GDP, which is an important source of currency and revenue generation, and by 14% in 2019 with 45 million foreign tourists, earning Turkey nearly 30 Billion dollar.
A heavy blow to the tourism sector in Turkey
The Coronavirus epidemic dealt a severe blow to the country’s tourism market, which led to an economic recession in Turkey. Given the Turkish trade deficit of $ 20 billion in the first half of 2020, it is estimated that the country’s trade deficit for the current year is about 3.2% of the country’s GDP.
According to statistics provided by the Turkish Tourism Statistics Center, the Turkish tourism market shrank by 78% in the first seven months of the year, with its highest growth in the first two months of 2020 and before the Coronavirus epidemic. After a major recession in three months, March, April and May (from March to early June). Foreign tourists were allowed to enter Turkey from certain destinations.
Despite the outbreak of the Coronavirus in China since November 2019, which initially affected the countries of East and Southeast Asia and had a wide negative impact on the tourism market in these regions, Tourism in Turkey has witnessed a 16% increase in foreign inbound tourism in that period.
Overall, the Turkish tourism market grew by 9.6% in the first two months of 2020 with 3.5 million foreign travelers.
But with the end of March and early April 2020, the tourism market in Turkey was severely affected after the outbreak of the Coronavirus in the world, as Turkey received only 968 thousand tourists, a decrease of 65%, including the share of tourists.
The number of foreign tourists reached 718,000, down 68 percent, and only 250,000 were domestic tourists from Turkey. Compared to the same time in March 2019, Turkey welcomed about 2.3 million foreign tourists.
The largest number of foreign tourists from March to July belonged to European countries. Studies conducted on the effects of Covid-19 on the Turkish tourism market show that at the same time as the peak of the first Coronavirus outbreak in the world, the number of foreign tourists who entered Turkey in April and May 2020 decreased by 99.2%.
In April, only 24,000 foreign tourists visited the country, and in May this number was about 30,000. Compared to the same time in April 2019, when the Turkish foreign tourism market grew by a large 12% and it received 3.2 million tourists.
The sharp decline in the number of tourist arrivals due to the Coronavirus crisis has led to a 66% decline in the Turkish international tourism market in the first five months of 2020.
Although about 3.5 million tourists visited Turkey in June 2019. In June 2020, some countries began to reopen their borders to a limited number of tourists. By opening its borders to 22 tourist destinations, Turkey was able to grow by 3% compared to the previous two months, reducing the number of foreign tourists to 96% and receiving 215,000 international tourists. However, in the first six months of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019, there was a 75% decrease in the number of international tourists.
In July, when Turkey reduced travel restrictions and allowed more tourist destinations to travel, it managed to increase the number of foreign tourists to 933,000 and reduce the number of foreign tourists by 86%. Due to the fact that traveling to Turkey is possible from some countries.
European countries have captured the largest number of foreign tourists to Turkey, and Germany, Bulgaria, Georgia, Russia and Ukraine are among the top five tourist destinations for Turkey, accounting for about 35% of the total travelers.
Turkey is among the best in the field of safe tourism
Given that Turkey is one of the first destinations to obtain a safe tourism badge from the World Travel and Tourism Council, safe travel badge allow travelers around the world to identify destinations and professions that have adopted global standard health protocols. It provides an opportunity for the Turkish tourism market to recover and allow foreign tourists to go to Turkey after the Coronavirus crisis.