ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey’s tourism income decreased by 13.8 percent in the second quarter of the year, down $7.73 billion compared to the same period of the previous year, according to data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK).
Rising security concerns due to the possibility of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attacks as well as other geopolitical risks, like the contracted Russian economy, have played a role in the decrease, according to sector representatives.
While foreign tourists spent an average of $911 per capita in the first quarter of the year, this figure decreased to $719 in the second quarter, according to TÜİK’s data.
The tourism income was around $4.87 billion in the first quarter of the year, a 1.3 percent increase from the same period of 2014.
Huge fall in Russian tourists
According to data from the Tourism Ministry, the number of Russian tourists visiting Turkey decreased to 1.45 million in the first half of the year from 2 million in the same period of 2014. The number of foreign tourists from France also decreased by 22.3 percent, with the number from Italy decreasing by 19.5 percent, in the first half of the year, compared to the previous year.
The highest number of tourists came from Germany in the first half of the year, with around 2 million, followed by Russia, with 1.45 million, and Britain, with around 950,000, according to the ministry’s data.
The head of the Hoteliers Association (TUROB), Timur Bayındır, told Reuters in May that the decrease in Russian tourists was expected to continue in the coming months, while Western tourists were concerned by ISIL in the region.
Before the geopolitical risks rose to unprecedented heights, industry representatives set tourism income for the year at around $30 billion to $35 billion. This figure, however, is now expected to decrease with the rising security concerns.
The net tourism income financed around 53 percent of the country’s current account gap at $46.5 billion in 2014.