Turkey's tourism revenues nearly tripled in the second quarter while during the first-half foreign visitor numbers surged close to 2019 levels, data showed on July 29, recovering from a coronavirus-driven slump and bringing in badly-needed foreign currency.
The rebound, following the lifting of tight restrictions at the height of the pandemic, has been helped by the lira's slide, which lost 44 per cent against the dollar in 2021 and 27 per cent so far in 2022, making Turkey cheaper for foreign tourists.
However, the economic woes fuelling the lira tumble have in turn left domestic tourism lagging behind, data and interviews suggest, with near-80 per cent annual inflation eating into Turks' disposable income.
Tourism revenues surged 190 per cent from a year earlier to USD 8.72 billion in the second quarter, statistics institute data showed.
Reports cited Tourism Minister Mehmet Ersoy as saying on July 28 that Turkey aimed for USD 37 billion in tourism revenues and attracting 47 million tourists this year, raising its targets from USD 35 billion and 45 million.
In 2021, tourism revenues doubled to almost USD 25 billion, recovering from the worst of the Covid-19 impact, but remained well below the USD 34.5 billion recorded in 2019.
Tourism revenues are vital to Turkey's economy, with central bank net currency reserves near a 20-year lows and President Tayyip Erdogan's economic plan aiming for a current account surplus.
In June, the number of foreign visitors arriving in Turkey leapt 145 per cent from a year earlier to 5.02 million, with first-half numbers hitting 16.37 million, up 186 per cent from a year ago, the Tourism Ministry said.