Foreign tourist numbers in Turkey up 15 percent in first 8 months of 2019

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A tourist takes a selfie as Suleymaniya mosque is seen in the background on March 1, 2018 at Karakoy district during snowy day in Istanbul. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

Turkey’s tourism sector has been experiencing a boom in 2019, with foreign visitor numbers rising by nearly 15 percent year-on-year in the first eight months, the Ahval news website reported on Tuesday, citing the Hürriyet newspaper.

More than 31 million foreigners visited the country in the first eight months of 2019, compared to last year’s figure of around 27 million.

Russians constituted the largest group of tourists, with 4.8 million by the end of August, followed by Germans at 3.3 million. British, Bulgarian and Iranian tourists completed the list of the top five.

Turkey’s southern province of Antalya was the most popular destination, with 10.3 million visitors. Istanbul was a close second, receiving 9.9 million tourists, Hürriyet said.

Tourist numbers surged by nearly 22 percent in 2018 and have continued to rise this year, boosted by the cheaper lira and the rising number of visitors from the Middle East, according to the pro-government daily.

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