In a bid to revive Turkey’s struggling tourism sector, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday called on Turks living abroad to take their vacations in Turkey.
“I see all our citizens living abroad as our country’s voluntary tourism ambassadors, and I am inviting them to vacation in Turkey. They should even get their neighbors to come,” Erdoğan told tourism sector representatives during a speech at his presidential palace.
Data released by the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) on Tuesday revealed that Turkey earned $22.1 billion in tourism revenues in 2016, 29.7 percent less than the country’s tourism revenues in 2015.
According to TurkStat data, Turkey derived 72.8 percent of its tourism revenues from foreign visitors, while 27.2 percent came from Turkish citizens living abroad in 2016.
The average amount of spending per visitor was $705.
The tourism industry, which is a significant source of revenue and employment as well as foreign currency income for Turkey, has been undergoing difficult times due to a series of terror attacks, political instability and currency devaluation in the country.