Turkey's domestic tourism expenditures surged 21.5% year-on-year in 2019, the country's statistical authority said Wednesday.
Residents spent some TL 48.9 billion ($8.6 billion) on domestic trips last year, including individual and package tour expenditures, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) said.
"While 91.9% of domestic tourism expenditures were individual with TL 44.9 billion ($7.9 billion), 8.1% were package tour expenditures with nearly TL 4 billion ($700 million)," TurkStat said.
Official figures showed domestic visitors made around 637 million overnight trips, while the average number of overnights was 8.1 and average expenditures per trip totaled TL 625 ($110).
TurkStat said nearly 61.4 million residents made domestic trips over the same period.
The primary purpose of domestic trips was visiting relatives, accounting for a 63.7% share of total trips.
The No. 2 trip purpose was travel, leisure and vacation with 26.5%, and No. 3 was health with 4.6%, TurkStat said.
Domestic visitors mostly stayed at the homes of a friend or relative with 435.3 million overnights in 2019.
"'Own house took second place with 115.4 million overnights and 'hotel' took third place with 42.7 million overnights," it noted.
Turkey’s tourism industry, from the beginning of the travel and flight restrictions imposed following the emergence of the first coronavirus case in the country, has been deeply affected by the coronavirus outbreak. However, sector representatives previously explained that domestic tourists can be a lifeline for the sector.
Ramazan Becer, the head of a digital technology and tourism firm CRM Group, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the industry now sees domestic visitors as a lifesaver.
"There will be a revival in the sector with both cheaper prices and the coming of Ramadan Bayram," Becer told AA.
Ramadan Bayram, or Eid al-Fitr, the feast after the holy month of Ramadan, will be celebrated at the end of May.
Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy earlier this month also said the tourism season is expected to be on hold until the end of May, expressing hope that activities would resume after Ramadan Bayram.
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