ECONOMY

Turkish gov't works to achieve new goals in tourism

After closing 2018 with historical figures in tourism, Turkey is now looking to reach 50 million tourists and $35 billion in tourism revenue in 2019, with the help of the soon-to-be-announced Tourism Master Plan and Tourism Development Fund.

The Tourism Master Plan will be prepared this year within the scope of the "New Economy Program Structural Transformation Steps 2019," followed by the Tourism Development Plan, according to Anadolu Agency (AA).

It plans to increase the country's destination diversity, the number of tourists and income per tourist. While the number of tourists is expected to reach 50 million this year, tourism revenue may likely hit $35 billion. Turkey targets 70 million tourists and $70 billion in tourism revenue over the next four years.

Turkey's tourism revenue grew by 12.3 percent in 2018 to $29.5 billion over the previous year. Around 81.8 percent of this figure was obtained from foreign visitors and 18.2 percent from Turkish expats visiting home. Both the number of tourists and tourism revenue increased in this period.

Personal expenditures constituted around $22.5 billion of last year's income, with the remaining $6.7 billion obtained from package tour expenditures. While the average expenditure per capita was recorded at $647, the average expenditure by foreigners stood at $617 and the average expenditure by Turkish expats was $801.

The number of visitors departing Turkey rose by 18.1 percent in 2018 compared to the previous year, amounting to 45.6 million people. Some 85.4 percent of this figure was foreigners at around 39 million, while the remaining 14.6 percent corresponded to 6.7 million Turkish citizens residing abroad.

The number of Turkish citizens visiting foreign countries dropped by 5.7 percent to 8.4 million in this period, with their average per capita expenditure at $584.

The number of overnight stays of the departing visitors, on the other hand, saw an increase of 9.3 percent from 103.8 million to 113.5 million.

According to the travel data of the households in Turkey, 32.5 million residents traveled in the third quarter of the last year. Local visitors spent over TL 650 million, making 333 million overnight stays (10.2 nights on average) during this period.

Local tourists, who spent $21.1 billion in the third quarter of last year, raised this figure to $34.8 billion in the January-October period of 2018.

Travel spending of local tourists consisted of personal or package tour expenditures. While 88.7 percent, which corresponded to around TL 18.7 billion, were personal expenditures, the latter amounted to TL 2.4 billion with 11.3 percent. In personal expenditures, TL 10.5 billion was spent on eating and drinking, TL 4.5 billion on accommodation, TL 1.1 billion on health, about TL 10 billion on transportation and some TL 3.2 billion on clothing and souvenirs. Meanwhile, the number of trips made to visit relatives came first with 58.9 percent, followed by travel, entertainment, and holiday purposes with 36.4 percent and health-related tours with 2.2 percent. Those traveling in the said quarter mostly preferred to stay with friends and relatives.

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