In first half of 2020 Turkey saw 4.5 million foreign tourists, the peak period of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country's Cultural and Tourism said on July 24.
According to the official data, the figures went down by 75% year on year in the January – June period, from 18,07 million.
The pandemic Covid-19 appeared last December in China, spreading all over the world, causing millions of infections and hundreds of thousands of deaths. The tourism and travel sectors got the worst hit as well as the economies in the world, efforting to stem the virus, focusing on people staying home and avoiding most human contact. Turkey postponed the toursim season to June and cancelled alot of events such as fairs and expos, after the Covid-19 spreaded in Turkey in February.
Turkey started a normalization process in June, most of the facilities, such as tourist, travels and a lot of it reopned with rigorous measures to ensure safety and avoid the virus.
Istanbul as usual continued to be Turkey's top tourist draw, in the period from January to June, attracting nearly 53,7% of foreign visitors around 2,4 million. In the northwestern Turkey, Edirne, which borders both Bulgaria and Greece, saw the second highest number of foreigners, with 634,721. The Mediterranean resort city of Antalya followed with 9,8% or over 444,227 foreign visitors.
The most visitors were from Bulgaria over 9,35% around 421,416, followed by Germans with 9,33%, Georgians with 7,5%, Russians with 7,1% and Iranians with 5%. In June, Turkey welcomed nearly 214,768 foreign visitors, down from 5,3 million in June 2019, but up from 29,829 in the previous month.
Last year, more than 45 million foreigners entered Turkey, up from around 39,5 million in 2018.
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