Turkey received 39.9 million tourists and ranked sixth among the most-visited countries in the world last year, according to United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) data released Friday.
Last year, 1.32 billion people from around the world visited other countries, the UNWTO said, adding that approximately 42 percent of visitors went to 10 countries.
France was the most-visited country last year with 88.9 million people, followed by Spain with 82.2 million, the U.S. with 72.9 million, China with 59.3 million and Italy with 57.8 million tourists.
With 39.9 million tourists, Turkey ranked sixth, followed by Mexico with 39.3 million, the U.K. with 38.7 million and Germany with 37.6 million, while Thailand, with 34.7 million tourists, ranked 10th.
Mediterranean Tourist Hoteliers Association (AKTOB) Chairman Erkan Yağcı said following the difficult years of 2015 and 2016, Turkey's tourism experienced a rapid recovery and gained significant momentum in 2017.
Recalling that the highest figures in Turkey's tourism were seen in 2014 when around 41.4 million foreign tourists visited the country, Yağcı said: "This year, I would say we are going just fine and Turkey can exceed the 2014 figures. We can reach 45 million tourists at the end of 2018."
Explaining that the domestic tourism has also grown considerably, Yağcı said that Turkey has around 50 million to 55 million citizens with a potential to travel, adding that this constitutes a large market.
"Tourism is a national industry for Turkey. As a tourism country, we want our citizens to go on vacation. Both our facilities and pricing conditions are very suitable. We want our citizens to go on vacation a couple of times a year and contribute to summer and winter tourism. It is very important for the sustainability of the industry," Yağcı said.