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 2015, tourism in Turkey has declined due to the Russian economic crisis[3] as well as resurgence of violence between ISIS and the PKK. Experts believe Turkey will see five billion dollars in losses for 2015. Due to heightened security risks, there was 2.25% decline in tourism in the first half of 2015 alone.[4] Although, Turkey expects more than 42 million tourists and $30 billion currency inflow in 2015 despite these negative developments.[5]


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.

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.[6]

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.[7] 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 [8]who offer Gallipoli region visit for commemoration services to Australians, New Zealanders and British.

Ölüdeniz Beach

Travel safety[edit]

During the 1990s, the PKK tried to damage Turkish tourism industry by bombing hotels.[9][10] Kidnaps of foreign tourists were also reported in this period.[9][10] An 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.[11] Such attacks, which are more common in the south-east part of the country, have continued into 2015 with the rise of the ISIS and the resurgence of Turkey–PKK conflict.[12][13]

Due to the recent flare in violence, nine countries have issued travel advisories. Seven of these countries, which include New Zealand, Australia, Italy, Britain, Poland, Ireland and Canada, discouraged their citizens to visit the eastern part of Turkey. Some countries have also issued advisories concerning public transportation within metropolitan cities throughout Turkey. Germany and Russia have discouraged their citizens to visit places near the border.[14] Following the 2015 Suruç bombing, a British Foreign Office official drew attention to terrorist activity across the country,[13] but the vast majority of Turkey remained "perfectly safe" to visit.[15]

On 3 September 2015, due to the recent violence concerning the Turkey–ISIL conflict, the United States State Department released an advisory about ongoing violence in Turkey. In the advisory, the State Department notes that militants have conducted attacks on U.S. interests in the country and that there's a potential for recurring violence.[16]

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.[17]

Top 10 countries whose residents provided the most visits to Turkey (2014 est.)[18]
Country Number
Germany Germany 5.0 million
Russia Russia 2.5 million
United Kingdom United Kingdom 2.5 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. ^ "4.9 pct less tourists in Turkey in June". DailySabah. Retrieved 2015-11-15. 
  4. ^ Kafanov, Lucy (19 August 2015). "Violence costing Turkey precious tourism, even far from the fighting". Christian Science Monitor. 
  5. ^ "Turkey aims to attract 42 million tourists in 2015". DailySabah. Retrieved 2015-11-15. 
  6. ^ Maierbrugger, Arno (25 January 2013). "Turkey plans world’s biggest airport". Inside Investor. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  7. ^ Tilic, L. Dogan (5 April 2010). "Antalya: The Tourism Capital of Turkey". European Business Review. Retrieved 28 January 2011. 
  8. ^ Turkey Travel Centre#Turkish Tourism
  9. ^ a b Page, Stephen J.; Connell, Joanne (2007). Tourism : a modern synthesis (2. ed.). London [u.a.]: Thomson. p. 508. ISBN 1844801985. The PKK has emulated ETA's letter campaign warning foreign companies against sending tourists to Turkey, bombed tourism sites and hotels, and kidnapped foreign tourists. 
  10. ^ a b Barnhart, Stephen R. (2002). International terrorism and political violence : the entity of trans-national criminal organisations and new terrorisms in the Balkans-Middle East and Eastern Europe, and its effect on the entire world! : memoirs of secret agents and organizations from "around the world". Victoria, B.C.: Trafford. p. 117. ISBN 1553692438. 
  11. ^ 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)
  12. ^ Perring, Rebecca (27 July 2015). "HOLIDAY TERROR ALERT: Brit tourists in Turkey face 'high' threat from ISIS". Express. 
  13. ^ a b Rockett, Karen (22 July 2015). "Brit tourists could be caught in Turkey terror attacks after air strikes bombard ISIS in Syria and Iraq". Mirror. 
  14. ^ Duran, Aram Ekin; Özdemir, Sinem (10 August 2015). "Turkish tourism hit by security concerns". Deutsche Welle. 
  15. ^ "Suruc bombing: Is it safe to travel in Turkey following suicide attack?". The Independent. Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  16. ^ "Turkey Travel Warning". Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State. 3 September 2015. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ "In December 2014, Boundary Input-Output Statistics". Ministry of Culture and Tourism. 2014. Retrieved 2015-08-22. 

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