The number of Turkish citizens traveling abroad has risen about 11 percent compared to last year, surpassing more than 10 million, according to a report by the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies.
Based on data provided by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat), the report indicates that Turks mostly prefer visiting neighboring countries. Georgia came first on the list, with more than 1 million Turks, followed by Greece with around 900,000 people and Bulgaria with 650,000 people. Germany came in fourth by attracting almost 500,000 Turkish travelers.
More than 40 percent of Turks traveled for cultural, recreational and leisure purposes, while more than 20 percent traveled for business. Around 1.8 million people visited friends and relatives, while more than 400,000 people traveled for religious purposes or to complete the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, required by every practicing Muslim. Only 1.5 percent of the total number of Turks who traveled abroad did so for education or training. Shopping and health were two other commonly cited reasons for travel, as 60,000 people traveled abroad to shop, and nearly 13,000 did so for health reasons. The number of people who traveled to the United States for business was 115,000, followed by 90,000 for Germany as well as 90,000 for East Asian countries.