One step closer to record numbers: Turkey's Antalya sees over 9.6M foreign tourists

The number of tourists visiting the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya has increased by 29 percent year-on-year from Jan. 1 to Sept. 8, as the city gets ready to break the all-time record in tourism this year. Turkey's holiday resort city has seen 9.66 million tourists arriving via Antalya Airport and Gazipaşa Airport in this period, according to the Antalya Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism. Some 9.4 million tourists arrived at Antalya Airport, while 252,831 came to the city via Gazipaşa Airport, the data shows.

Often called Turkey's tourism capital, Antalya is expected to hit an all-time high and host around 14 million foreigners this year.

Moreover, for Sept. 1-8, some 539,578 foreign tourists came to the city's two airports, an increase of 25 percent compared to the same period last year. Last September, 433,191 tourists came to the city in the first week of September.

While there was a 29 percent increase compared to the same period last year, the increase compared to the same period of 2014, the best ever year in tourism, was 584,906 tourists.

Having welcomed 4.6 million tourists in the worst period of 2016 from Jan. 1 to Sept. 8, Antalya experienced an increase of 5 million tourists in the same period this year.

Antalya received some 2.1 million more tourists this year compared to the same period of 2017. Meanwhile, the overall number of tourists coming to Turkey in the first seven months of this year was up 25 percent year-on-year, according to the Culture and Tourism Ministry.

Around 21.64 million tourists visited Turkey from January to July, compared to 17.3 million in the same period last year.

The Turkish government set a target of 40 million tourists and $32 billion in tourism revenue for 2018. While the country hosted 36.8 million foreigners in 2014 and 36.3 million in 2015, the figure decreased sharply to 25.3 million in 2016 but rose again to 32.4 million last year, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat). Turkey has targeted 50 million tourists and $50 billion in income by 2023, according to private sector representatives and officials.

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