By Burcu Calik
ANKARA (AA) - The number of tourists visiting Turkey increased by 40 percent in September compared to the same month last year, Culture and Tourism Minister Numan Kurtulmus said Wednesday.
Speaking at a tourism forum in the Turkish capital, Ankara, Kurtulmus said 26.06 million tourists visited Turkey in the first nine-month period.
"In September alone, 4 million new tourists came to Turkey, which is 40 percent higher than September last year," he said.
"The average of the first nine months is also 28.7 percent higher. This shows that the sector has started to recover. We will make a more serious move in the coming period, and continue to grow," he added.
More than 4 million Russian tourists came to Turkey in the first nine months of the year, while the number of visitors from Germany hit almost 3 million over the same period, according to Kurtulmus.
Turkey aims to attract 36.1 million tourists in 2018, earning tourism revenues of $28.3 billion as part of next year's government program revealed on Tuesday.
The program foresees that at the end of 2017, tourist figures worldwide will total 1.28 billion people, up 3.5 percent, and tourism expenditures will amount to $1.3 trillion, going up 2.9 percent.
By the end of 2017, 31.4 million foreigners are expected to visit Turkey, bringing the country's annual tourism revenues to a possible $25.1 billion.