Culture and Tourism Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said the ministry expects to close 2017 with 31.4 million tourists and around $26 billion in tourism revenue, while a goal to see 35 million foreign visitors has been set for 2018.
In tourism, one of the leading industries to have been heavily affected by the security concerns and the jet downing crisis with Russia, the number of foreign visitors, which was 36.8 million and 36.2 million in 2014 and 2015, respectively, dropped to 25.3 billion in 2016.
Turkey's economy lost revenue with a decrease of 11 million tourists and $8 billion in revenue in 2016 due to the Russian crisis and security concerns.
"We are planning to close this year ... with 31.4 million tourists and a tourism revenue target of around $26 billion," Kurtulmuş said on a broadcast on A Haber.
Regarding 2018 tourism targets, Kurtulmuş said they aim to attract at least 35 million tourists next year, adding that a bigger figure is also possible.
Kurtulmuş noted that they will spread tourism incentives they have to 12 months. "We will invite Chinese, Indians and Indonesians to Turkey. We will further expand the scope of tourism," he added.
As relations with Russia have normalized, the sector has experienced a rapid recovery. The increase in the number of Russian visitors is also the biggest contributor to the recovery of tourism figures.
According to Culture and Tourism Ministry data, 4.57 million Russians visited Turkey with an increase of 495 percent in the first 10 months of the year. Meanwhile, Turkey had seen about 767,000 Russians in the same period of the previous year.
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