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Russians make up largest group of tourists to Turkey so far in 2023: ministry data

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More than 36 million tourists visited Turkey in the first eight months of 2023, with Russians accounting for the largest percentage of them, according to data from the Culture and Tourism Ministry.

Among the 36,754,146 people who visited Turkey between January and August of this year, 4,351,000 came from Russia, followed by Germany with 4,082,000. British citizens made up the third largest group, with 2,652,000 of them choosing Turkey as their holiday destination. They were followed by Bulgarians and Iranians.

Turkey, which was already a popular holiday destination for Russians, has begun to be preferred by more Russians since the EU imposed restrictions on Russians traveling to Europe following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Obtaining visas for EU countries has become more expensive and less straightforward for Russians, while Russian air carriers have been banned from flying over or into the EU.

The ministry data showed a 44 percent increase in the number of Russians visiting Turkey this year compared to the same period of 2022, with a 13.9 percent increase in the total number of foreigners visiting Turkey.

The number of tourists in Turkey in August alone was 6,660,700, a 5.6 percent increase over August 2022.

According to Statista, a German online platform specializing in data gathering and visualization, Turkey had tourism revenue of $46.4 billion in 2022.

Revenues in 2022 surged 53.4 percent from the previous year to a record high as the lingering effects of the pandemic disappeared and fallout from the Ukraine war drove an increase in Russian arrivals.

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