While tourism revenue in the first quarter of the year has already reached the highest peak seen in Turkey's history, the sector is virtually experiencing an early spring. According to figures from the Turkish Statistical Institute, at 4.918 billion in tourism revenue, the first quarter of 2013 has officially reached the highest figures ever seen in Turkey's history. Compared to figures from the first quarter of last year, there has already been a 39.6 percent increase in tourism revenue.
Tourists spent the most in the category of food and beverages at 1.139 billion dollars spent in the first quarter. This marks the first time that over a billion dollars was spent on food and beverages in a single quarter. Tourists spent 606.9 million dollars on accommodation, 171.1 million dollars on health and 327 million dollars on transportation within Turkey. Also in the first quarter, tourists spent 27 million dollars on sports, education and culture, 24.9 million dollars on tour services and 9.1 million dollars at marinas. Tourists spent 621.6 million dollars on clothes and shoes, 337.8 million dollars on gift items and 62.7 million dollars on rugs and carpets for a total 4.4 billion dollars on personal spending.
"Expectations for 2013 are for 33 million tourists and 31.5 billion dollars in tourism revenue"
Commenting on the expectations for 2013, the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB) President Başaran Ulusoy noted that 72.5 percent of tourism revenue is derived from foreign visitors, while 27.5 is from Turks residing abroad and stated, "Speculation is that tourism revenue in 2013 will reach the 31.5 billion dollar level."
Pointing out that according to figures from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the number of foreign visitors that came to Turkey during the Jan-Mar period of 2013 reached 4,214,348 which is a 22.52 percent increase compared to the same time period the year prior, Ulusoy stated, "Expectations are that approximately 33 million tourists will visit our country in 2013."
Ulusoy also drew attention to the fact that congress tourism is now a shining segment in the industry and that according to International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) statistics for 2011, by hosting 159 congresses, Turkey came in 23rd worldwide in a list of countries that host the highest number of such events, while Istanbul came in ninth by hosting 113 congresses in the metropolis alone.
Ulusoy also commented on the signs coming in reflecting the positive effect the normalization of relations between Turkey and Israel will have on the tourism sector. "According to figures from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, during the Jan. to March period in 2013 the number of visitors from Israel reached 20,268 which is a 111.28 percent rise compared to the same timeframe the year prior," stated Ulusoy.