Over the past two decades, Turkey has placed itself as one of the top tourism destinations. In terms of tourist arrivals, Turkey grew by 110% and climbed the global rankings from 12th in 2004 to 6th position in 2015. Turkey has also become the fourth most visited country in Europe in 2015.

Here’s a snapshot of Turkey’s tourism industry today:

Foreign Visitors

The total tourist number increased over 100% from 2006 to 2015. Turkey has become the sixth most visited country in the world with a total of 36.2 million international visitors in 2015. The country aims to host 50 million tourists and earn $45 billion in tourism revenue by 2023.

In 2015, a majority of visitors were German and Russian citizens. However, the number of German visitors dropped by 17% to 230,000 while the Russians dropped by nearly 59% to just 24,000 visitors in the first quarter of 2016 due the series of terror attacks in various parts of the country and the dispute with Russia. The number of Japanese tourists also dropped by 48 percent in the same period, according to official statistics from the Turkish Tourism Ministry.

Sector’s Growth

The Turkish tourism industry has grown more than the global travel and tourism industry in the last decade. The income generated from the travel and tourism sector has risen approximately 250% from 1990 to 2014. Licensed tourism facilities have increased 48% between 2005 and 2012. The industry’s average growth is expected to remain around 3% in the medium term.

Revenue & Investment

Turkey generated $31.5 billion from the tourism industry in 2015. The sector’s direct contribution to Turkey’s GDP was 6.2% in 2015. The direct contribution of the industry to the economy is expected to exceed $45 billion in 2023, according to the official figures.

In the first quarter of 2016, Turkey’s tourism revenue decreased by 16.5 percent to $4.07 billion due to a significant decrease in the number of Russian tourists visiting the country and rising security concerns. While 71.3 percent of the revenue came from foreign visitors, some 28.7 percent was obtained from citizens who reside abroad, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute.

Travel & Tourism investment in 2014 was $15 billion (9.7% of total investment). It is expected that the investment will rise by 4.2% to $24 billion by 2025, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council 2015 report.


Tourism sector is the second largest employment provider in Turkey. Turkey’s tourism industry employment rose 13.3 percent and directly supported 890,000 jobs (6.7% of total employment) in 2014. It is expected to rise by 4% to 925,000 jobs in 2023.

Did you know?

There are 18 golf clubs in Turkey. The government aims to promote Belek as a golf destination. According to the Turkish Golf Federation, golf tourists spent a total of nearly €130 million on their golf holiday in Belek in 2014.

Halal Tourism

Halal tourism market is increasing rapidly and is expected to reach $233 billion globally by 2020. Muslim tourists traveling globally in 2015 was 117 million, representing close to 10 percent of the entire tourism sector. Turkey is the 3rd most visited country after Malaysia and UAE for halal tourism. There are around 300 halal-friendly hotels in the world, and half of them are in Turkey. The number of Muslim tourists visiting Turkey exceeded 7.6 million in 2015, a 30 percent increase from 2014.

Did you know?

Turkey has 436 Blue Flag beaches. There are also 22 Blue Flag marinas in Turkey.

Health Tourism

Turkey is currently one of the top ten medical tourism destinations in the world. Turkish government has identified the health tourism as a key component of its economic development plans. The country currently has 48 hospitals that are accredited by JCI, which are considered the gold standard in global health care. Turkish government is also planning to build health free zones in order to boost the industry. Turkey treated 583,000 medical tourists, and generated around $3 billion in revenues in 2014. Turkey aims to generate around $20 billion in revenue per annum by 2023.


There are a total of 5,643 hotels in Turkey. About 15% of these hotels are owned by international investors, according to the Turkish Investment Promotion Agency. Hotels have witnessed a 115% increase since 2004, along with the number of guest nights growing by 96%, according to the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Room capacity: 165,207
Bed capacity: 354,273
Five Star Hotels: 560
(48% of the 5 star hotels are located in Antalya.)


There are 57 airports in Turkey, 33 of these airports offer international flights. There are three major international airports: two in Istanbul and one in Antalya. In 2014, Istanbul Ataturk Airport was Europe’s fourth busiest in terms of passengers with 38 million in 2014, whereas Antalya International Airport was the 14th busiest airport in Europe with approximately 22 million passengers.

Istanbul’s third airport, currently under construction, is set to be one of the biggest in the world. The airport is planned to open by the beginning of 2018. In its first phase, the airport will have three runways, a railway link and an annual passenger capacity of 90 million. The plan is to expand this further and for the airport to have six runways, four terminals and an annual passenger capacity of 150 million by 2028.