İstanbul recorded a decline of 66.4 percent in tourist arrivals in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, with only 5 million foreign tourists visiting the city, İstanbul Municipality data show.
According to a report in the İstanbul Tourism Bulletin’s February edition, 5 million foreign tourists visited İstanbul in the first five months of 2019 alone, out of some 14 million tourists for the entire year.
Russians were at the top of the list of the foreign visitors to İstanbul in 2020, with 421,000 tourists. They were followed by Germans with 375,000, France with 227,000, the UK with 202,000 and Iran with 174,000 tourists
When compared to 2019 figures, there was a 41.6 percent decline in the number of Russian tourists and 63.4 percent in the number of German tourists visiting İstanbul in 2020.
In 2020, the number of tourists staying at hotels and other places of accommodation saw a 53 percent drop, while there was a 56.7 percent decline in the number of overnight stays by foreign tourists in İstanbul. The occupancy rate of tourist accommodations in İstanbul dropped to 24.2 percent in the same period.
Some 40 million people transited İstanbul by air in 2020, 47.3 percent of whom were on international flights.
Meanwhile, the total number of tourists visiting Turkey in 2020 saw a 71.7 percent decline in 2020, dropping to 12,734,000. İstanbul’s share of tourists, however, recorded a rise, increasing to 39.3 percent among all tourists visiting the country in the same period.
Turkey recorded its first coronavirus case on March 11. Since then, the country from time to time has halted flights to and from risky countries. Turkey is itself subject to travel restrictions from the European Union due to its number of cases. Turkey recorded 7,906 coronavirus cases on Feb. 16, while the death toll over the past 24 hours was 90.