Turkey favorite non-member destination for EU tourists

Turkey favorite non-member destination for EU tourists

Remnants of ancient Ephesus temples in İzmir are one of the spots that attract the largest numbers of tourists.

September 13, 2008, Saturday/ 18:07:00/ ALİ ASLAN KILIÇ
Spain is the most popular tourism destination for tourists from European Union member countries, while Turkey ranks first among non-EU countries as EU tourists’ favorite place to spend vacations, recent figures have shown.
According to data released by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism yesterday, 88 percent of tourists from the EU visit one or more of the EU’s 27 members on vacation, while the rest prefer to travel beyond EU borders. France follows Spain inside the EU and the US comes after Turkey for non-EU destinations. According to data for the first half of the year, Germany has sent the most tourists to Turkey, followed by Russia and Britain.

Turkey is still most popular place amongst German tourists, despite growing interest by Russians in recent years, figures have underlined. Britons come third after Russia.

German and British tourists to Turkey make up more than half of the total visitors from the entire EU, the ministry’s numbers illustrated. Britons generally choose the US as their international destination, whereas Germans tend to pick Turkey. Spain and France hold the first two spots in the international travel choices of EU citizens, whereas Turkey and the US are tied as the third most popular destinations.

Tourism revenues on the rise

Unlike past seasons, which have experienced sharp increases in the number of tourists visiting Turkey but a disproportionately low increase in revenue, in 2008 Turkey enjoyed a dramatic increase in tourism revenue. Noting that Turkish tourism has grown substantially this year, ministry officials said that according to estimates, the total number of foreign visitors this year will reach 27 million, resulting in $16-17 billion in revenue.

Experts recall that the number of tourists spending their vacation in Turkey increased by 15 percent in the first half of 2008 and that the increase in tourism revenue has been 29.3 percent. Ministry experts say the popularity of Turkey among German, Russian and British tourists can be attributed to promotional and marketing activities, as well as soccer.

Turkey has seen more visitors coming in with more money this summer thanks to the Turkish national soccer team’s impressive performance at the Euro 2008 tournament, in which it took third place.

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