Arab tourists prefer Turkey for its highlands and health tourism
TRABZON, TurkeyFeb 18, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
Feb 18, 2016 12:00 am
More than 7.5 million Arab tourists have traveled to Turkey in the last three years, with Iraqi tourists accounting for the biggest share followed by Lebanese, Saudi, Algerian, Egyptian and Jordanian tourists.
Arab tourists mostly prefer green and chilly destinations as well as popular coastal cities and districts in the Mediterranean and Aegean regions like Muğla, Antalya and Marmaris. Traveling to Turkey in either large groups or with families, they do not return home without visiting Istanbul for luxury shopping and accommodation opportunities. Northern Turkey is also their next favorite spot for travel and settling in, including the cities of Bolu, Trabzon and Yalova.
During the January-July 2015 period, Saudi Arabians topped the list of the number of Arab tourists visiting Istanbul with 254,825 people. The Black Sea region and the Antalya province is the choice of Arab tourists in the Middle east for health tourism after Istanbul. Many Arab tourists visit the hot springs around Turkey for their health benefits. Iraqi tourists frequently come to Turkey for surgery - cosmetic surgery in particular - due to recent developments in this field. Among Arab countries, tourists from Sudan, Bahrain and Yemen compose the lowest number. Additionally, Istanbul is the first choice among African Arab tourists.
In 2014, Arab tourists spent around $3,000 per person while Saudis visiting Turkey in the summer months last year spent 93.7 million euros in total, indicating a 72 percent increase compared to the previous year. In contrast, local tourists spent $1,150 per person in 2014, while other foreign tourists spent $749.
Three years ago, Turkey attracted more than 2 million Arab tourists, and this number has increased each year - experiencing a more than 20 percent increase in 2014. Last year, around a 19 percent increase was observed, and even more Arab tourists are expected to travel to Turkey. Based on the report of the Eastern Black Sea Development Agency (DOKA), international tourists from Arab Gulf countries compose 75 percent of the share of total tourism expenditures.