30.4 million visitors to Turkey in January-November
The number of foreign visitors to Turkey rose 0.6 percent between January and November of this year, reaching 30.4 million people, data from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism showed on Tuesday.

Turkey enjoyed a 2.21 percent year-on-year rise in November in the number of tourists. A total of 1.63 million people visited the country in the 11th month of the year. It rose 0.37 percent the preceding month.

Turkey's total revenue from tourism in 2011 equaled $23 billion, while this figure for the first three quarters of this year was $17.3 billion, the ministry's data reveal.

In 2011 as a whole, tourist arrivals had increased 9.86 percent to 31.46 million, and revenue generated by tourism amounted to $23.02 billion. Of the visitors who arrived in Turkey in November of this year, 127,924 were overnight tourists; this figure was 1.99 million from January to November. Germany sent the highest number of visitors to Turkey in November at 263,034; Georgia followed with 123,532 and Bulgaria with 112,476.

$1.2 bln loss in tourism revenues due to Syria

Ongoing domestic violence in its southern neighbor Syria translated into an approximately $1.2 billion loss in Turkish tourism revenues in 2012, and the number of tourists from the region fell by 2 million over figures from 2011, Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay said on Tuesday. On the other hand, the number of visitors from other regions recorded an increase from January to November of this year.

Relations between Ankara and Damascus have been in tatters since the outbreak of domestic violence in Syria early last year. Notably following the downing of a Turkish jet by Syria, both governments have increased their criticism of each other. In time, the crisis saw Iran and even Iraq enter the "tension game." Add to this the lingering diplomatic rift with Israel, and Turkey has seen a decline in the number of visitors to Turkey from the region -- Iran, Syria, Israel and Iraq.

Evaluating the performance in tourism in 2012 in a written statement, Günay said the ongoing civil war in Syria has taken its toll. "With the unrest, the number of tourists from the neighboring region has declined by a total of 2 million. … If we calculate the average spending during their stay in Turkey per tourist at $600, our losses hit $2 billion so far in 2012," he explained.

(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CİHAN
Last Modified: 2012-12-25 20:00:02
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