Turkey’s tourism income dropped by nearly 30 percent year-on-year in 2016 as tourists chose to shun the country due to worsening security.
Turkey posted an income of 22.1 billion U.S. dollars from tourism last year, a sharp fall from 31.5 billion dollars in 2015, according to data released by the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) on Tuesday.
In 2016, Turkey welcomed 31.3 million visitors, a dip of 24.6 percent over the previous year, according to the latest figures.
“The decline in 2016 is very significant due to worsening security concerns and increasing terror threat in the country,” Serdar Ibis, a member of board with Dorak-Itir Tours.
Over the past one and a half years, Turkey has been hit by more than 30 bombing attacks, in which over 400 people were killed.
“In the meantime, all the optimistic expectations of Turkey’s tourism sector have collapsed with the latest attack on Istanbul’s Reina nightclub on New Year’s Day,” said Ibis.
The shooting attack inside the nightclub by an Islamic State militant left 39 people dead, mostly foreigners.
Ibis noted that foreign tourists in particular had been very much influenced by the attacks in Turkey as most of them had revised their travel plans for 2016 and 2017.
“Turkey as a center of attraction has dropped down to 4th or even 5th place in the eyes of foreign tourists,” he added.
Nearly 73 percent of Turkey’s tourism revenue comes from foreign arrivals, with 27 percent from Turks living abroad, according to TurkStat’s figures.
While the country’s tourism income in 2016 plummeted by almost 30 percent, tour operators saw their turnover dwindle by as much as 50 percent, Ibis said.
In his view, if stability returns soon to Turkey, “there will be some recovery in the second half of this year,” as efforts are being made to draw potential foreign holidaymakers to the country.