By Faruk Zorlu
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey aims to host 75 million tourists in 2023, when it celebrates the 100th year of its foundation.
One of the most popular destinations in global tourism, Turkey has recently broken an all-time record by hosting over 45 million international tourists.
Marking World Tourism Day, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday emphasized that the country should host 65% more tourists in 2023.
Among those who visited Turkey for tourism purpose in 2018, Russians topped the list with 6 million visitors followed by Germans (4.5 million), Bulgarians (2.3 million), 2.2 million from the U.K. and another two million from Georgia, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat).
Erdogan shared an infographic along with his twitter post, detailing the plan for reaching the goal.
According to the plan, the government will take several concrete steps to attract 4 million more tourists from the Far East, 4.5 million from Central Europe and 3 million from the American continent by 2023.
As part of the plan, the government will increase advertisement budget to $180 million. It will also increase the capacity of several airports, especially in Istanbul and Antalya, and increase the number of blue-flag beaches from 463 to 688 by 2023 and raise the lodging capacity for tourists from the existing 1.5 million to 2 million by 2023.
It is expected that by the end of 2019, 1.1 million more tourists will arrive from the Far East, 2.8 million from Central Europe and 1.1 million from the Americas.
In the first half of 2019, Turkey hosted 18 million tourists with an 11% increase compared to the same period last year, according to TurkStat.