According to the report, the top five countries that attracted the most tourists in 2022 were France, Spain, the United States, Italy, and Türkiye, respectively. While Türkiye ranked as the fifth country with the highest number of tourists, hosting 51 million people in 2022, the largest influx of tourists to Türkiye came from Russia, Germany, and the United Kingdom. In the first half of 2023, Istanbul set a record for visitor numbers.

EY, the international auditing and consulting firm, highlighted the evolving dynamics, trends, and priorities in the tourism industry. The year 2023 is characterized by the convergence of global tourism trends in sustainability, technology, cultural experiences, health, and safety. Prioritizing sustainable and eco-friendly travel options, flights with reduced carbon footprints, green accommodations, and ecologically conscious tourist activities play a decisive role in travel preferences.

According to data from the International Air Transport Association, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport became the world's busiest airport for international passengers in October 2023, with over 5.36 million scheduled seats. Dubai International Airport secured the second position, while Istanbul Airport ranked seventh in passenger traffic.

Türkiye's tourism revenues increased by 27% to reach $21.7 billion in the first half of 2023. The UEFA Champions League final held in Istanbul on June 10 between Inter Milan and Manchester City contributed approximately €75 million (USD 80 million) to the city's economy.

Türkiye The 5th most visited country

Türkiye welcomed a total of 51 million visitors in 2022, making it the fifth most visited country. In the first half of 2023, this number increased by 21% compared to the same period in 2022, reaching 22 million visitors. The primary purpose of visitors in the first half of 2023 was "travel, leisure, sports, and cultural activities" with a rate of 76.2%, followed by "visiting relatives and friends" at 16.6%. The percentage of visitors coming to Türkiye for "shopping" remained at 3%, consistent with previous years.

Data indicates that Russian visitors increased by 34% in the first half of 2023 compared to the previous year, reaching 5.2 million people. Visitors from Russia comprised 13% of the total, with Germany following at 12%. The number of visitors from the UK also increased by 12% compared to the same period the previous year.

Most visited city: İstanbul

In the first half of 2023, Istanbul hosted 11.52 million foreign visitors, showing a 16.22% increase compared to the same period in the previous year. Visitors to Istanbul primarily came from Russia, Germany, Iran, the United States, Saudi Arabia, and the UK.

In 2022, Istanbul alone hosted 16.02 million foreign tourists, with the majority coming from Russia (9.33% of total visitors), followed by Germany (7.72%) and Iran (6.85%). Antalya, known for its resorts along the Mediterranean coast, followed Istanbul in 2022 with 12.82 million foreign visitors, and Edirne, bordering both Bulgaria and Greece, ranked third with 4.64 million foreign visitors. The fourth position was held by Muğla, famous for Bodrum, Marmaris, and Fethiye.

Health tourism increased by 88%

Interest in health tourism in Türkiye continues to rise, with 746,290 people visiting for health services in the first half of 2023. The revenue generated from health tourism reached $1.033 billion. The Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB) predicts that Türkiye will host over 1.8 million health tourists in 2023, representing an increase of nearly 30% compared to the previous year.

In 2022, health tourism in Türkiye experienced an 88% increase compared to 2021, contributing to a 23% increase in health service revenue, reaching $2.12 billion. A total of 1,258,382 visitors received health services in Türkiye in 2022.

Türkiye emerges as a leader in cruise tourism

With recent investments, Türkiye has become a leading country in cruise tourism. In the first half of 2023, more than 483,000 people visited Türkiye via cruise ships, reflecting a 32% increase in the number of ships (420 ships) and a 107% increase in passengers (31,057 passengers) compared to the same period last year. Kuşadası led with 191 calls and hosted 258,719 visitors, followed by Galataport (Istanbul) with 115,760 visitors and 72 calls.

Contribution of travel and tourism to the economy is growing

Globally, the travel and tourism sector contributed 7.6% to the global GDP in 2022, representing a 22% increase from 2021 but a 23% decrease from 2019. The report predicts that this figure will reach $9.5 trillion in 2023 and $15.5 trillion in 2033.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the contribution of travel and tourism to GDP in Europe increased by 40% in 2022 compared to 2021, reaching $579.2 billion. However, this figure remained 7.2% lower than in 2019. Türkiye's contribution to GDP from tourism increased from 2.1% to 5.1% in the last three years.

In 2022, package tour expenditures in Türkiye increased by 83.4%, and travel services expenditures increased by 82.1% compared to the previous year.

The full report can be accessed on the EY website.

Editor: Mehmet Güneli