The number of foreign tourist vesting Turkey surged 11.3 percent year-on-year in the first five months of 2019, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism said Friday. Nearly 12.8 million foreigners visited the country this January-May, compared to 11.5 million in the same period last year. Istanbul, one of the country's top tourist destinations, recorded the greatest number of foreign arrivals, with 5.4 million.
The Mediterranean resort city of Antalya came second, welcoming 3.1 million foreign visitors. Russians made up 13.1 percent of all foreign visitors (or 1.8 million), followed by German citizens at 9.5 percent (1.2 million) and Bulgarians at 7.7 percent (more than 980,000). The most common means of transport was by air, with 9.6 million foreign visitors flying in.
Also, some 2.9 million foreign visitors used roadways and railways, while over 307,000 arrived by sea.
In May, the number of foreigners entering the country also posted an annual rise of 9.35 percent, reaching 4 million.
According to the Turkish Hotel Association (TUROB) data released Friday, hotel occupancy rates across Turkey in May totaled 55.3 percent, down 7.2 percent from the same month last year.
The average daily rate for rooms was 68.7 euros ($78.3) last month, up 4.9 percent year-on-year, said the association.
Turkey welcomed 39.5 million foreign visitors last year, a 21.84 percent increase year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, while the national statistical body revealed that the country's tourism income surged 12.3 percent to $29.5 billion. The country aims to host 50 million tourists this year.