Turkey's biggest metropolis Istanbul, harboring ancient heritages and historical remnants of the Ottoman era, has welcomed 9.9 million foreign tourists from 200 countries in the period of January to August this year, according to data released by the provincial culture and tourism directorate yesterday.
The number of foreign visitors coming to Istanbul in the first eight months recorded an increase of 13% compared to the same period last year. Germany, Iran, Iraq, Russia and Saudi Arabia topped the list of countries from which Istanbul hosted the highest number of visitors.
The data of the Istanbul Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism showed that the city recorded the highest number of foreign visitors in the last five years. While the city hosted 2.3 million foreigners in 1998, it welcomed 13.4 million foreigners last year. In August 2018, a total of 1.3 million foreigners visited Istanbul and the figure rose to 1.5 million this year in the same period.
The number of visitors coming to Istanbul by air surged 12.5% while the number of foreigners who entered Istanbul by seaports rose 11.8%.
Germans topped the list of foreign visitors to Istanbul with a share of 7.6%. As is traditional for Istanbul's foreign visitors, Iranians followed Germans, whose numbers accounted for 6% of the total foreign tourists. Iraqi visitors grabbed a share of 4.7% and were followed by Russians with 4.6%. Saudi Arabians came fifth in the list of foreign visitors to Istanbul with 3.6%.
The number of visitors coming from Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Algeria, Lebanon and Palestine recorded a rise of 14% in the first eight months of the year. Last year, Istanbul welcomed 3.4 million visitors from Arab countries and the figure was recorded at 2.5 million in the first eight months of this year.
According to the report of the Culture and Tourism Ministry, Istanbul has 590 certified accommodation facilities with a bed capacity of 119,969.
Antalya welcomes over 12M tourists in 9 months
In the period of Jan. 1 to Sept. 30, Turkey's hottest holiday resort Antalya welcomed 12 million foreign tourists, recording a 16.33% rise compared to the same period of last year, the data of the provincial directorate of culture and tourism revealed yesterday. The city hosted 12.5 million foreigners in the said period as opposed to 10.7 million in the same period of last year.
Russians, as always, came first among foreign visitors to the Mediterranean province with 4.7 million, recording an increase of 13.94%. Russians were followed by Germans with slightly over 2 million visitors. Ukrainians came third with 726,602. The British ranked fourth on the list of foreign visitors to Antalya with 623,501 tourists.