Turkey eyes 25 million foreign visitors in 2021, tourism officials say

Turkey’s tourism sector hopes that coronavirus vaccines will boost tourism and convey in some 25 million foreign visitors in 2021 after a decline in tourist numbers caused by the pandemic.

Tourism industry sources say it’ll take a minimum of two years for the amount of arrivals to succeed in the amount before the pandemic. Tourism revenues account for up to 12% of the Turkish economy.

The country’s tourism income has narrowed significantly because the pandemic led to worldwide travel restrictions, border shutdowns and an overall drop by consumer demand.

The number of foreign visitors to Turkey in 2019 was 45.06 million while tourism revenues stood at $34.5 billion. within the first 11 months of 2020, the amount of foreign visitors arriving in Turkey was 12 million, down 72%.

“We got to reach a target of 25 million-30 million in 2021. 2021 is that the year of crawling and standing up. 2022-2023 are going to be the year of running,” said Turkey Hoteliers Federation (TÜROFED) Chairperson Sururi Çorabatır.

Çorabatır told Reuters that the foremost important think about boosting tourism would be vaccinations, followed by a decline within the number of coronavirus cases in both Turkey and therefore the countries that send tourists to Turkey.

“In 2021, we are targeting half the numbers in 2019,” Turkey Travel Agencies Association (TÜRSAB) Chairman Firuz Bağlikaya said.

“The sector will experience much tougher competition in 2021. The cake is getting smaller, so those that need a slice will need to be far more aggressive,” Bağlikaya told Reuters.

Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said in late November that the tourism sector was likely to shrink 70% in 2020 thanks to the outbreak.

Ersoy had said the country was likely to shut 2020 with tourism revenues slightly over $11 billion and over 15 million travelers.

He stressed that the 2021 figure is predicted to exceed this year but fall behind 2019. “We should target 100% growth for next year at minimum,” the minister said.

On Monday, Turkey reported 13,695 new coronavirus cases and 197 related deaths, bringing the general tolls to 2.26 million and 21,685, respectively. Ankara has imposed curfews each weekday evening and full weekend lockdowns for quite a month.

Turkey has received the primary shipment of Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine and has signed an agreement for up to 30 million doses from Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine also .

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