The hotel occupancy rate across Turkey was 33.4 percent in the first half of 2020, during the peak period of the coronavirus pandemic, down 47.3 percent from the same period last year, the Turkish Hotel Association (TUROB) said on Friday, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.
Turkey welcomed 4.5 million foreign visitors in the first half of 2020, down 75 percent year-on-year, according to Culture and Tourism Ministry data on Friday.
From January to June, İstanbul continued to be Turkey’s top tourist draw, attracting nearly 53.7 percent of all foreign visitors – around 2.4 million.
Edirne, in northwestern Turkey, which borders both Bulgaria and Greece, saw the second-highest number of foreigners, with 634,721.
The Mediterranean resort city of Antalya followed with 9.8 percent, or 444,227 foreign visitors.
After first appearing in China last December, the novel coronavirus outbreak spread around the world, causing millions of infections and hundreds of thousands of deaths.
Efforts to stem the virus’ spread – focusing on people staying at home and avoiding most human contact – have hit economies hard, especially the tourism and travel sectors.
After February Turkey postponed the tourism season until June and cancelled a number of events such as fairs and expos.
With a normalization process starting in June, tourist facilities in Turkey reopened with rigorous measures to ensure safety and avoid spread of the virus.