By Gokhan Ergocun
ISTANBUL (AA) - Turkey welcomed some 11.2 million foreign visitors during the first 10 months of 2020, the country’s Culture and Tourism Ministry said on Monday.
During lockdowns and travel restrictions worldwide due to the pandemic, the number of foreigners visiting the country posted a decline by around 72.5% on a yearly basis, the ministry data showed.
While the country hosted around 5.7 million foreign visitors in the last three months – August to October – this figure was around only 50,000 during April and May, when the pandemic peaked in Turkey.
In the 10-month period, Istanbul remained Turkey’s top tourist draw, attracting 37.09% of all visitors – around 4.15 million.
The Mediterranean resort city of Antalya followed it with 27.67% or over 3.1 million foreign visitors in the same period, and the northwestern province Edirne, which borders both Bulgaria and Greece, saw the third-highest share with 13.47%.
Some 8.5 million visitors came to Turkey via airways, while 2.5 million chose motorways, 148,550 seaways, and 162,188 railways.
Russians accounted for some 17.06% or nearly 1.91 million of the visitors, followed by Germans with 9.26% (1.03 million visitors), and Bulgarians with some 8.91% (997,470).
In October, the country saw 1.74 million foreign visitors, down 59.40% year-on-year.
In 2019, more than 45 million foreigners entered the country, up from nearly 39.5 million in 2018.