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Foreign Visitors to Turkey Rise in April | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Turkish police near Istanbul’s Blue Mosque. (AFP Photo/Bulent Kilic)

Ankara- Tourist arrivals rose 18 percent from a year ago to just over 2 million in April, the Turkish tourism ministry has said.

The ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that tourists from Germany and Russia topped the list of foreign visitors in April.

The number of tourists visiting Turkey fell 30 percent last year for many reasons, including Turkish-Russian tension sparked by a Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jet shooting down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M attack aircraft near the Syria–Turkey border on November 24, 2015. The incident prompted Russia to impose a travel ban, which was later removed.

Among the other reasons behind the drop in the number of tourists were security concerns, which included terrorist bombings that took place in many tourism sites, and the abortive military coup of last July.

In a related development, average hotel occupancy rose in April during the Easter Holidays.

Turkish Touristic Hotels and Investors Association said that April 2017 hotel occupancy rate climbed from 52.9 percent to 61.2 percent with an increase of 15.7 percent compared to the same period the previous year. In January-April 2017, on the other hand, the hotel occupancy rate rose 5.8 percent, reaching 53.8 percent.

The increase in occupancy in Istanbul, which has become the city most affected by problems having repercussions on the tourism sector in the last 18 months, approached 30 percent in April. On the other hand, the occupancy rate of Istanbul, which was 50.6 percent in April 2016, jumped 27.9 percent in April 2017, reaching 64.8 percent.

The hotel occupancy rate in April 2017 in Antalya rose 8.8 percent compared to the same period of the previous year, jumping from 53.1 percent to 57.8 percent.

This increase in occupancy has not corresponded to an increase in revenue. In the first four months of 2017, Turkey experienced the biggest loss in room revenue with a decrease of 23.3 percent. The average daily rate (ADR), or the average rate paid for rooms sold, fell to 59 euros.