News Column

H1 tourism revenues up 6.3 pct to $13.78 bln

July 31, 2014

ISTANBUL (CIHAN)- Turkey's tourism revenues rose 6.3 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2014 to $13.78 billion, government data showed on Thursday.

According to the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat), 15.97 million people visited Turkey between January and June of this year, a slight increase from 15.04 million in the same half in 2013. A total of 34.9 million tourists visited Turkey in 2013, a 9.84 percent rise over 2012.

Figures reveal that the Turkish tourism sector still has a way to go before it reaches the same revenue levels of last year. Tourism revenues in 2013 rose 11.4 percent to $32.3 billion. Tourism facilities now pin their hopes on an anticipated increase in visitors. July and August have traditionally been the peak season for Turkish tourism given the influx of visitors to the country's world-famous summer resorts.

Tourism revenues are a valuable source of foreign currency for Turkey, which has a large current account deficit (CAD).

Nearly 3.73 million of the visitors to Turkey in first six months were Turks living abroad, TurkStat added. The tourism sector earned 84.5 percent of revenues from foreign visitors in the first half of the year. Turkey's tourism spending increased to $2.76 billion in the first half when compared to a year ago, when it was $2.5 billion.

The average amount spent by foreign tourists was $759 in the first three months of this year, while Turks living abroad spent $1,325 on average, revealing that most foreign visitors preferred the relatively cheaper package tours.

A total of $6.26 billion of tourists' money was spent by individuals, while $2.35 billion was spent on group packages, TurkStat said.

In the meantime, the number of Turkish citizens traveling abroad in the first half increased by 11.3 percent over the last year and reached 2.04 million. The average spending per person in this group was $687.

Turkey expects that incoming tourism figures may well reach beyond 40 or even 50 million over the next few years, but the question is whether such a high number will be sustainable from both an environmental and a business administration perspective.

(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CIHAN

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Source: Cihan News Agency (Turkey)

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