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Turkey rises in popularity as shopping destination

ISTANBUL, June 13, 2019

The number of foreign tourists visiting Turkey rose significantly in 2018 (to 39.4 million), driving international spend to an all-time high, partly due to the country’s growing popularity as a shopping destination.

According to recent reports, the Turkish city of Istanbul was ranked eighth in the world for international spend, accruing $16.3 billion in visitor exports, ahead even of other popular European destinations such as London, Paris, Barcelona and Amsterdam.

A significant spike has been reported in the number of international tourists — particularly tourists from neighbouring Arab Countries — travelling into Turkey to shop, especially for high-end designer and luxury brands. According to recent estimates, foreign tourists held a notable share in the turnover of shopping centres in Turkey last year: shopping with foreign cards amounted to TL26.3 billion ($4.5 billion) in 2018, representing an increase of 76 per cent year-on-year.

"This increase in foreign tourist spend within Turkey has also resulted in growth for the nation’s retail sector. Travellers can enjoy greater value for their money in Turkey when compared to other popular destinations around the world across a wide spectrum of goods and services," noted Salih Ozer, attaché of Culture and Information, Turkey to the UAE.

The 2018 research also shows that leisure travellers primarily drove the tourism sector in Turkey with 87 per cent spending generated by leisure visitors and 13 per cent from business travellers. The sector is also strongly weighted towards international travel: 61 per cent of the spending came from international travellers and 39 per cent from domestic travel.

According to the report, the tourism sector contributed TL461.3 billion ($79.4 billion) to the country’s economy in 2018, with the sector now representing a 12.1 per cent share of the Turkish economy. Growth in Turkey’s tourism sector has, in fact, outpaced the global growth rate: the nation’s travel and tourism economy grew by 15 per cent in 2018, significantly higher than the global growth rate of 3.9 per cent.

"The travel and tourism sector plays a crucial role as a driver of economic growth, job creation and social inclusion. Repeat visits from tourists from the GCC countries in particular help fuel the growth of this sector. We expect tourist spending in Turkey to continue undeterred through to the end of this year as the number of visitors bound for Turkish cities rises," added the attaché. - TradeArabia News Service




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