After a record-breaking performance last year, Turkey's tourism capital Antalya hosted some 142,297 tourists in January, an all-time high and up 53.8 percent compared to the same month last year.
The record-high numbers in January, usually considered to be the "dead season" for tourism, was promising in terms of Turkey's goal of spreading tourism to 12 months of the year.
According to the Antalya Airport Administrative Authority, the number of tourists in the city reached 142,297 in January this year, from 92,000 in the same month last year. This figure was 88,000 in 2017, 97,000 in 2016, 117,000 in 2015, 113,000 in 2014 and 108,000 in 2013.
Russian tourists once again took the lead with a 75 percent rise, compared to the same month of 2018. A total of 37,314 tourists came from Russia, followed by 29,605 tourists from Germany, up by 52 percent. The record increase in the number of Russians and Germans, the two main markets of Antalya, in the dead season also created great hope for the upcoming months.
Antalya hosted tourists from a total of 135 countries in the said period, including 6,908 from Poland, with a 122 percent rise, 4,474 from the U.K., with a 27 percent rise, 3,593 from Jordan, with a 130 percent rise, 2,932 from the Netherlands, with a 26 percent rise, 2,073 from Belgium, with a 64 percent rise, 2,025 from Norway, with a 540 percent rise, 1,850 from Ukraine, with a 315 percent rise, 1,644 from Iran, with a 98 percent rise, 1,418 from Austria, with a 40 percent rise, 1,202 from Kazakhstan, with a 258 percent rise, 1,029 from Sweden, with a 488 percent rise, 1,017 from Iraq, with a 52 percent rise, and 1,000 from Azerbaijan, with a 39 percent rise.
Praising the development, the Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TÜROFED) head Osman Ayık said the record-high numbers in the January-April and November-December periods, often considered offseason for tourism in Antalya, meant they were also important for the tourism industry now.
He said that Antalya hosted as many tourists as it could in the peak season from May to October. "This trend in January pleased us in terms of the objective of increasing the number of tourists in Antalya and spreading the tourism season to 12 months of the year. This means that we will start to see the figures that will please us in the pre-season as well. These figures indicate that the six-month period from January to April and from November to December, known as the dead season, has come to be important," he said.
Russia was the top country with 5.96 million visitors last year, accounting for 15.1 percent of all foreign visitors in Turkey. Russia was followed by Germany with 4.51 million visitors.
The Mediterranean resort city of Antalya hosted 12.4 million foreign visitors in 2018, according to the ministry. Tourism representatives expect the city to welcome around 15 million foreign visitors throughout this year.