As the 6th most popular tourist destination in the world and attracting more than 46 million tourists in 2018, Turkey continues to present vast investment opportunities in both the established and newly-developing subsectors of the tourism industry.
With its favorable location, existing potential, mega projects, and ambitious targets set for 2023, the tourism sector continues to grow at a rate that outstrips its bed capacity. Even though there has been a surge of investments in the last several years, there is still ample room for new ventures. Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia both have untapped potential for cultural tourism as well as the increasingly popular boutique hotel concept, which blends well with the characteristic nature, history, and culture of the regions.
- In 2018, Turkey was the 6th most popular tourist destination in the world according to UNWTO.
- According to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the number of foreign travelers arriving in Turkey in 2018 was 46 million, while total turnover of the tourism industry that same year was USD 29.5 billion.
- Growth in the Turkish tourism industry has been above the global average in recent years, and the direct positive contribution of the industry to the current account deficit in 2018 was 52 percent.
- With regard to religious tourism, Turkey is among the few countries in the world that is home to sites from a number of major religions. Of a total of 316 sacred sites, 167 of them belong to Islam, 129 to Christianity, and 20 to Judaism.
- Antalya is the most preferred city in Turkey based on the number of incoming foreign visitors. Visited by 32 percent of the foreign tourists in 2018, Antalya has over 500 4-star and 5-star hotels in its center and surrounding towns such as Kemer, Belek, and Kaş.
- The number of operational hotel chains Turkey is 57, with 44 of these being domestically owned, and 15 of these being foreign owned. The number of hotels in these 57 chains in Turkey totals 628, while the number of rooms totals 149,601.
- Turkey has 7,200 km of coastline and ranks 3rd among all countries with its 463 blue-flag beaches.
- In terms of geothermal tourism potential, Turkey is among the top seven countries in the world and ranks 1st in Europe with its 1,500 thermal springs. Bed capacity in the various thermal spa resorts has reached a combined 100,000.
- The Belek region stands out as the most significant golf destination in Turkey, ranking among the world’s most popular tourism centers with 18 golf courses, more than 50,000-bed capacity, and 2 million tourist arrivals.
- Based on 2018 tourism figures, Forbes Travel has ranked the world’s top 10 most-visited cities, with Istanbul coming in at 8th place.
- The Turkish government offers incentives such as reduced utility prices and reduced tax rates, while also pursuing policies aimed at eliminating any bureaucratic barriers that may hinder growth in the tourism sector.