Tourism is a key sector of the Turkish economy, with huge growth potential thanks to the country’s natural beauty and cultural assets. Its privileged localization, a great historical heritage, comparatively low prices and its qualified and cheap labor force, are some of the competitive advantages of this sector.
Turkey is already one of the global tourism powerhouses. According to data from 2017 Turkey is 6 th in the ranking of most visited countries and 9th in income from tourism. Europe is the main source of tourism for Turkey with 40,84% of the total visitors in 2016. Traditionally the country with the highest number of visitors is Germany, with 15,34% of the total in 2016. In second and third position we can find Russia and the United Kingdom, with a 10% and 6,75 % share respectively. Spain holds the 20th position, with 1% of the total. The number of Spanish visitors has increased in recent years. However, it is not one of the main markets for Turkey yet.
The lack of diversity in the offer, concentrated in the summer months and in the sunny coastal areas of the Mediterranean and Aegeas seas. Seasonality is one of the main characteristics of the international tourism visiting the country. The Turkish government is trying to correct this with different strategies. A similar imbalance appears geographically, with 3 regions that receive most of the demand from foreign turists: Antalya, Istanbul and Mugla. Together these regions represent 70% of the total.
The National strategic report from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism underlines as the main areas to be improved in this sector:
The Turkish government has set an ambitious strategic plan with the goal of achieving the 5th position in the world’s ranking of tourist destinations by 2023. This plan will address issues like investments, tourist national brand construction, action plan and regional assemblies. By the end of 2017 around 33 million visitors are expected.