UPDATE WITH MORE DETAILS
By Gokhan Ergocun
ISTANBUL (AA) - Turkey welcomed more than 31 million foreign visitors during the first eight months of this year, according to new data released by Culture and Tourism Ministry on Monday.
The number of foreigners visiting the country soared 14.7% in the January-August period on an annual basis, according to the data.
The Mediterranean resort city of Antalya was the top destination for tourists, hosting 33.3% of all visitors -- around 10.3 million.
The historic metropolis of Istanbul followed with 32.2% or over 9.98 million foreign visitors in the same period.
Northwestern Edirne province, which borders both Bulgaria and Greece, received the third-highest number of foreigners, with 2.99 million during the first eight months.
Russians accounted for 15.6% of the visitors -- more than 4.8 million -- followed by Germans at some 10.9% and 3.38 million visitors, and the U.K. with 5.97% and 1.85 million.
Most foreigners -- 20.7 million -- came to Turkey via air travel, while roadways were chosen by nearly 6.1 million foreigners, seaways by over 890,000, and trains by 10,475.
Last year, some 39.5 million foreigners entered Turkey, up from 32.4 million in 2017.
The Hotel Association of Turkey said the hotel occupancy rate was 67.3% during the first eight months of 2019, up 1.2% versus the same period last year.
Occupancy in Istanbul was 73.7% and 66.6% in Antalya during the same period, according to TUROB data.
The average daily rate for rooms and revenue per room rose 11.5% and 13.4% reaching €79.60 ($88.40) and €53.60 ($59.50) in January-July.
- 6.3M foreigners in August
Meanwhile, the number of foreign visitors climbed 17.2% to reach 6.3 million people year-on-year in August.
Russians (1.08 million) and Germans (713,527) were the top nationalities of foreign visitors in the month, followed by the British (421,466).
During the month, Antalya, drawing 2.48 million people, was the top destination for foreigners, while Istanbul and Edirne welcomed 1.54 million and nearly 480,000 visitors, respectively.
The hotel occupancy rate was 79.5% in August, up 4.9% compared to the same month in 2018, while the average daily rate for rooms and revenue per room rose 21.9% and 27.9% to reach €105 ($117.6) and €83.4 ($93.4) in the month.
In August, while Turkey's hotel occupancy rate was over the European countries' average, Istanbul was among top 10 cities with an 87.7% hotel occupancy rate.
"The UEFA Super Cup Final in Istanbul was one of the factors of this increase," TUROB said.