Turkey welcomed some 9.46 million foreign visitors during the first nine months of 2020, the country’s Culture and Tourism Ministry announced on Friday.
Amid lockdowns and travel restrictions worldwide due to the coronavirus pandemic, the number of foreigners visiting the country dropped some 74% on a yearly basis, the ministry data showed.
While the country hosted 4 million foreign visitors in the last two months – August and September – this figure was around only 50,000 during April and May, when the pandemic peaked in Turkey.
In the nine-month period, Istanbul remained Turkey’s top tourist draw, attracting 38.28% of all visitors – around 3.6 million.
The Mediterranean resort city of Antalya followed it with 25.56% or over 2.4 million foreign visitors in the same period, and the northwestern province Edirne, which borders both Bulgaria and Greece, saw the third-highest share with 13.16%.
Some 7.2 million visitors came to Turkey via airways, while 2.12 million chose motorways, 148,550 seaways, and 4,523 railways.
Russians accounted for some 15% or nearly 1.4 million of the visitors, followed by Germans with 9.65% (912,749 visitors), and Ukrainians with some 8.17% (772,851).
In September, the country saw 2.2 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.