Turkey's tourism income surged by 181.8% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2021, following a significant fall last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) announced on Thursday.
The country earned $11.4 billion this July-September, up from $4 billion in the same period last year when the COVID-19 crisis led to a collapse in international travel. There were travel restrictions worldwide, borders were shut and thus an overall drop in consumer demand.
The figure was $14 billion in the same period in 2019, before the onset of the coronavirus.
"Some 78% of this income – excluding GSM roaming and marina service expenditures – was generated from foreign visitors, TurkStat data showed.
Turkey welcomed 13.6 million visitors in the three-month period, jumping by 143.4% on an annual basis as restrictions were eased and vaccination rollout advanced in many parts of the world.
While 84% or 11.5 million visitors were foreigners, 16% or 2.2. million were Turkish citizens residing abroad.
According to official figures, individual expenditures constituted nearly $9 billion of the total tourism income, while some $2.3 billion of the revenues came from package tour expenditures.
TurkStat said visitors' average expenditures were $835 per capita, as foreigners spent $773 per capita and Turkish citizens living abroad spent $1,146 per capita in the third quarter of this year.
Meanwhile, the number of foreign visitors from January to September was also up 86% from the same period last year, reaching 17.6 million, according to the country's Culture and Tourism Ministry on Thursday.
Despite the significant improvement, the nine-month figure did not overtake the pre-pandemic level of 2019.
The Mediterranean resort city of Antalya was the top draw for foreign visitors with a 39% share, attracting 6.8 million foreigners in January-September.
It was followed by Istanbul, Turkey's largest city by population with 33% share, and Edirne in northwestern Turkey, which borders both Bulgaria and Greece, with a 10% share.
The ministry data showed that the country welcomed 21.5 million visitors, including Turkish citizens living abroad, in the first nine months of this year.
Russians made up 20% or 3.5 million of all visitors, followed by Germans with 13%, Ukrainians with 1.8%, Bulgarians with 5%, and Iranians with 4%.
In September, the country saw 3.5 million foreign arrivals, rising by 60% on an annual basis.