Foreign tourist arrivals in Turkey down 72.5 pct

The number of foreign tourists to Turkey fell by 72.5 percent year on year in the first 10 months of 2020 due to the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, the Culture and Tourism Ministry said on Monday.

The country hosted 11.2 million foreign visitors between January and October, down from 41 million during the same period in 2019, the ministry revealed in a statistical report.

Turkey’s biggest city and economic hub Istanbul lured 37 percent of the total foreigners visiting the country, followed by the Mediterranean resort city Antalya with 28 percent, the data showed.

In 2019, Turkey’s tourism revenue rose to an all-time high, hitting 34.5 billion U.S. dollars with a total of 45 million visitors.

Last week, Turkey reimposed partial lockdowns on weekends, closed restaurants and cafes, and introduced new working hours for the businesses to restrain the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases.

The previous restrictions had been lifted in July across the country as the daily number of cases started to follow a downward trend.