UPDATES WITH MORE INFORMATION FROM OFFICIAL DATA
By Muhammed Ali Gurtas
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey's tourism revenue reached $26.3 billion in 2017, the country's statistical authority announced on Wednesday.
Annual revenue rose by 18.9 percent in 2017, up from $22.1 billion the previous year, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat).
"While 77.4 percent of this income (excluding GSM roaming and marina service expenditures) came from foreign visitors, 22.6 percent was obtained from citizens residing abroad," TurkStat said.
Turkey welcomed 38.6 million visitors in 2017, marking a 23.1 percent hike from the previous year -- 83.1 percent foreign and 16.9 percent representing Turkish citizens residing abroad.
TurkStat data revealed that average expenditure per capita was $681 in 2017. Foreigners' average expenditure per capita amounted to $630 while for Turkish citizens residing abroad, it reached $903 per capita.
- $3 billion on shoes and clothes
Foreign visitors spent most for food and beverage, accommodation and transport. They spent over $3 billion on shoes and clothes and $1.2 billion on souvenirs in addition to $100 million on carpets and rugs.
The primary reason of foreign visitors' trips -- 56 percent -- was "travel, entertainment, sports and cultural activities" followed by “visiting relatives and friends” -- 14.7 percent.
According to TurkStat, their top choice accommodation choice was hotel/motel/pension.
The number of Turkish citizens visiting abroad increased by 12.8 percent last year, reaching 8.9 million people with an average spending of $578 per capita.
The institute also said Turkey's annual tourism expenditure in 2017, which is the expenditure of the Turkish citizens residing in Turkey and visiting abroad, rose by 1.7 percent compared to 2016 and reached $5.1 billion.
While nearly $4.1 billion of total expenditures were individual expenditures, $1 billion were package tour expenditures, TurkStat noted.