record year

Fortunately – I’m tempted to say, has Turkey again experienced a marked increase in the number of tourists visiting the country, over the past few years. In fact, the total number of visitors has increased by 23% in just one year.
But it has been a tough fight to get there.

In 2014 everything seemed to be on the right track. A total of 36.8 million tourists for a whole year. But then there came terrorist threats and attacks, political crises, coup attempts, trade blocs and much more. Something that certainly did not made life easier for either the locals or the tourist agencies.

The figures culminated in 2016 with only 25.3 million visitors and a crisis was a reality. It still sounds like a lot of tourists and it is. Just not in such a large country as Turkey, where a very large part of the national income comes from tourism.

A great job:

So there had to be hard work in many ways before the tourists again had confidence, that Turkey was a safe country to travel to. In fact, one of the most popular articles here on the blog was “it is safe to travel to Turkey in 2017” and is still in the top 5 of the most read posts at all. But the faith returned slowly and the numbers have only risen steadily over the last 2 years. With record in 2018 of just over 40 million visitors (excluded about 6 million domestic tourists – typically people from Istanbul who visit Bodrum, Marmaris and Antalya, as well as people from inland, who also spend holidays at the coast.


More want more, so in 2019, Turkey is aiming to reach a total of 50 million visitors, which seems like a lot in a country with about 82 million citizens (calculated by the latest count). But ok – there is space.

Istanbul tops the list with about 12.7 million tourists, quickly followed by Antalya with 12.4 million in 2018. And then of course there are all the other areas – Izmir, Cesme, Kusadasi, Bodrum Marmaris, the Black Sea coast and inland with eg Konya and Ankara. You probably know a lot of the cities.

Konyaalti beash strand plaji

Questions about supply and demand:

It has certainly been possible to notice the increase in both the flight prices and the offer of hotels, where many seats and beds were sold out. The messages are right now that there was up to 98-100% occupancy of the hotels in the tourist regions in 2018. Something I think sounds incredibly loud. In any case, I can’t help thinking whether the smallest tiny hotels with “small” stars have also sold out?

But it might be true. Because holu moly, the airline prices have increased. And you have to be very early to get good rooms (and prices) at the best hotels. At least this was something we experienced last summer, when we started having some problems with hotels in March / April. It is a question of supply and demand.
And nothing suggests that it should be different this year. In the opposite direction, soo…

Sometimes I find it fun to “nerd” a little with ex. numbers. Because there are many things hiding in them. As for example: where the tourists come from.


Where do the tourists come from?

It’s a bit fun, because throughout the years I’ve come to Antalya, the city have been dominated by tourists from different countries for various periods. In the start 00s, it was Israelis, then Germans and then Russians. Now there are a number of Arabs (and from the rest of the Middle East), a lot of Japanese, mixed with Russians (and naturally many more).

Russians were the ones topping the list with 15% of all visitors (6 million tourists). An increase of over 22% in relation to the year before. Then the Germans came in with 11.6% while the English accounted for 6% of the total number of visitors in 2018.

Polish (!) And Columbian (!) Tourists have both doubled their visitor numbers. A little funny, I think it will be so specific. Where people from the Middle East are on the list, I just couldn’t see.

In January alone, there have been 142,297 tourists visiting Antalya. This is a somewhat significant increase of 53.8% in relation to the year before. The Russians are up 75% and the Germans 52, closely followed by especially the Norwegians.


So… don’t wait too long to book your airline tickets and hotel… It looks as if the wheels are going fast. And immediately there is only the way forward and no stopwatch.