People, Travel

Iranians Help Turkish Tourism Bounce Back

Iranians Help Turkish Tourism Bounce Back
Iranians Help Turkish Tourism Bounce Back

The number of Iranian tourists visiting Turkey exceeded 1 million during the first half of 2017, a report released by Turkey’s tourism statistics authority announced.

Inbound tourism grew by 14% compared with the corresponding period of 2016, the Persian daily Donya-e-Eqtesad reported, quoting the report.

After a sharp fall in the country’s tourism industry, due to political instability and threat of terrorism, the 14.6 million tourists registered in the first half of the year suggest Turkey’s battered travel sector seems to be on the path to recovery, with Iran playing a key role in the Near East nation’s comeback.

According to the latest figures, Iran was the fourth largest source country for tourists to Turkey during the first six months of 2017. In June, Iran ranked third behind Russia and Germany.

Over 3,962,000 travelers visited Turkey in June, which marks a 43% growth compared with the same period of last year. The number of Iranian visitors in June grew by 6.7%.

Official figures show Turkey’s revenue topped $8.7 billion in the six-month period.

Just before 2016, Turkey grew into one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The growing network of national air carrier, infrastructure development, hotel construction and country marketing fueled the expansion.

This is while the downturn came in 2016, with a sharp rise in terrorist attacks coupled with political uncertainty. Terrorist attacks—400 in just 2015 from an average of 70 annually between 2010 and 2014—resulted in a more than 30% fall in the number of European tourists who used to make up over half the visitors.

Beyond hotels, restaurants and transportation, industries as diverse as telecommunications, retail trade and textiles experienced a shock. Studies show that the recovery is likely to be slow, as repeated incidents of violence tend to have long-lasting effects on tourist arrivals.

Turkey, followed by Georgia, is the most popular non-religious destination for Iranians. Iraq, which is home to a number of holy sites, is usually the top destination for Iranian pilgrims.

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