Tourism in Turkey

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Tourism in Turkey is focused largely on a variety of historical sites, and on seaside resorts along its Aegean and Mediterranean Sea coasts. In recent years, Turkey has also become a popular destination for culture, spa, and health care tourism. In 2011, Turkey attracted more than 31.5 million foreign tourists,[1] ranking as the 6th most popular tourist destination in the world.[2]

In January 2013, the Turkish government announced that it will build the world's largest airport in Istanbul. The operation has an invested 7 billion euros and will have its first part of a four part plan completed by 2017.[3]


Istanbul is one of the most important tourism spots not only in Turkey but also in the world. There are thousands of hotels and other tourist-oriented industries in the city, catering to both vacationers and visiting professionals. Turkey's largest city, Istanbul, has a number of major attractions derived from its historical status as capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. These include the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (the "Blue Mosque"), the Hagia Sophia, the Topkapı Palace, the Basilica Cistern, the Dolmabahçe Palace, the Galata Tower, the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Bazaar, and the Pera Palace Hotel. Istanbul has also recently become one of the biggest shopping centers of the European region by hosting malls and shopping centers, such as Metrocity, Akmerkez and Cevahir Mall, which is the biggest mall in Europe and seventh largest shopping center in the world. Other attractions include sporting events, museums, and cultural events.

Other destinations in Turkey[edit]

Beach vacations and Blue Cruises, particularly for Turkish delights and visitors from Western Europe, are also central to the Turkish tourism industry. Most beach resorts are located along the southwestern and southern coast, called the Turkish Riviera, especially along the Mediterranean coast near Antalya. Antalya is also accepted as the tourism capital of Turkey.[4] Major resort towns include Bodrum, Fethiye, Marmaris, Kuşadası, Çeşme, Didim and Alanya.

Lots of cultural attractions elsewhere in the country include the sites of Ephesus, Troy, Pergamon, House of the Virgin Mary, Pamukkale, Hierapolis, Trabzon (where one of the oldest monasteries is the Sümela Monastery), Konya (where the poet Rumi had spent most of his life), Didyma, Church of Antioch, ancient pontic capital and king rock tombs with its acropolis in Amasya, religious places in Mardin (such as Deyrülzafarân Monastery), and the ruined cities and landscapes of Cappadocia.

Diyarbakır is also an important historic city, although tourism is on a relatively small level due to waning armed conflicts.

Ankara has an historic old town, and although it is not exactly a tourist city, is usually a stop for travelers who go to Cappadocia. The city enjoys an excellent cultural life too, and has several museums. The Anıtkabir is also in Ankara. It is the mausoleum of Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey.

Gallipoli and Anzac Cove - a small cove on the Gallipoli peninsula, which became famous as the site of World War I landing of the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) on 25 April 1915. Following the landing at Anzac Cove, the beach became the main base for the Australian and New Zealand troops for the eight months of the Gallipoli campaign. Ministry of Culture and Tourism (Turkey) understands an importance of cultural and historical heritage, thats why strongly supports local tour operators [5]who offer Gallipoli region visit for commemoration services to Australians, New Zealanders and British.

Ölüdeniz Beach

An important academic article published in UK-based peer-reviewed economics journal called Applied Economics by Mete Feridun of University of Greenwich in 2011 presents strong econometric evidence that Turkish tourism sector is severely damaged by PKK terrorism. [6]

Tourism statistics[edit]

Foreign tourist arrivals increased substantially in Turkey between 2002 and 2005, from 12.8 million to 21.2 million, which made Turkey a top-10 destination in the world for foreign visitors. 2005 revenues were US$17.5 billion which also made Turkey one of the top-10 biggest revenue owners in the world. In 2011, Turkey ranked as the 6th most popular tourist destination in the world and 4th in Europe, according to UNWTO World Tourism barometer.[2] See World Tourism rankings. Also Turkey has been chosen second in the world in 2015 with its 436 blue-flagged beaches, according to the Chamber of Shipping.[7]

Top 10 countries whose residents provided the most visits to Turkey (2012 est.)[8]
Country Number
Germany Germany 5.0 million
Russia Russia 3.5 million
United Kingdom United Kingdom 2.4 million
Bulgaria Bulgaria 1.5 million
Georgia (country) Georgia 1.4 million
Netherlands Netherlands 1.2 million
Iran Iran 1.1 million
France France 1.0 million
United States United States 0.8 million
Syria Syria 0.7 million
Year Arrivals
1995 7,083,000
1996 7,966,000
1997 9,040,000
1998 9,750,000
1999 7,460,000
2000 8,000,000
2001 10,400,000
2002 12,800,000
2003 13,300,000
2004 16,800,000
2005 21,200,000
2006 18,500,000
2007 23,340,911
2008 26,336,677
2009 27,077,114
2010 28,632,204
2011 31,456,076
2012 31,785,780
2013 39,724,912
2014 41,263,670

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Number of Arriving-Departing Foreigners and Citizens". Tourism Statistics. Ministry of Culture and Tourism (Turkey). 2010. Retrieved 28 January 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "2012 Tourism Highlights" (PDF). UNWTO. June 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  3. ^ Maierbrugger, Arno (25 January 2013). "Turkey plans world’s biggest airport". Inside Investor. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  4. ^ Tilic, L. Dogan (5 April 2010). "Antalya: The Tourism Capital of Turkey". European Business Review. Retrieved 28 January 2011. 
  5. ^ Turkey Travel Centre#Turkish Tourism
  6. ^ Feridun, Mete (2011) Impact of terrorism on tourism in Turkey: empirical evidence from Turkey. Applied Economics, 43 (24). pp. 3349-3354. ISSN 0003-6846 (print), 1466-4283 (online) (doi:10.1080/00036841003636268)
  7. ^
  8. ^ "In December 2012, Boundary Input-Output Statistics". Ministry of Culture and Tourism. 2012. Retrieved 2013-08-22. 

External links[edit]