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İstanbul attracted highest monthly number of tourists in past decade in July

A tourist poses for a picture near the Hagia Sophia Mosque at Sultanahmet in Istanbul. BULENT KILIC / AFP

İstanbul attracted more than 1.7 million foreign tourists in July, the highest number of tourists visiting the city in a month in the past decade, Turkish media outlets reported.

A total of 1.759,506 foreign tourists visited the city in July, according to data from the İstanbul Provincial Directorate for Culture and Tourism, 56 percent higher than the figures for July 2021.

İstanbul, which has long drawn international travelers for its culture, art and history, saw foreign arrivals soar in the lead-up to the pandemic, with foreigners increasingly coming for shopping, sightseeing and health tourism.

There was a sharp drop in the number of foreign tourists visiting the city in 2020 due to the travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but visitor numbers are now higher than they were pre-pandemic, in 2019.

German tourists were the largest group of foreign visitors coming to the city in July, followed by tourists from Russia, the United States, Iran and Saudi Arabia. İstanbul attracted visitors from 193 countries in July.

Some 8.5 million foreign nationals visited the city in the January-July period.

İstanbul hosted around one-third of the 26.1 million visitors who visited Turkey throughout the first seven months of 2022.

According to a report on Euronews earlier this month, hair transplants are a major driver of tourist visits to İstanbul, with more than 250,000 people a year traveling to the city for a makeover.

Turkey is set to be the fourth most popular European destination this summer, according to a World Travel & Tourism Council report.

The country’s tourism revenue nearly tripled in the second quarter of 2022, with foreign visitor numbers surging close to 2019 levels, the report found. Revenue surged to $8.7 billion between April and June, up 190 percent over the same period last year.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey aimed to generate $37 billion in tourism revenue and attract 47 million tourists this year, revising the previous targets of $35 billion and 45 million visitors.

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