Turkey records 10% growth in UAE visitors
Tourist traffic to Turkey from GCC residents and nationals continued to show strength.
Published: Thu 24 Aug 2017, 7:38 PM
Last updated: Fri 25 Aug 2017, 4:48 PM
Turkey is continuing to gain ground as a popular destination for visitors from the UAE, with tourism destinations across the country recording a 9.86 per cent growth in the number of visiting UAE citizens and residents.
The surge in the popularity of the country as a tourism destination is not restricted to the UAE, officials at the Turkish Consulate General Cultural and Information Office noted. New data showed that a total of 1,226,665 Middle East travelers landed in Turkey between January and June 2017. During the same period, travel to Turkey has grown by 10 per cent, and an estimated annual growth of 20.5 per cent by the end of the year. Tourist traffic to Turkey from GCC residents and nationals continued to show strength, rising 26.29 per cent as compared to 2016, or an estimated 360,000 travelers.
"We expect GCC traveler traffic to Turkey to continue its strong growth over the coming six months," says Salih Ozer, attaché of Culture and Information, Turkey to the UAE. "Turkey continues to be a leading destination for GCC travelers due to our close cultural, religious and diplomatic ties with the region."
Ozer also noted that the UAE figures are particularly striking. The first half of 2016 saw a decrease of 20.99 per cent in traveler traffic from the UAE to Turkey, which this year recovered to increase by 10 per cent, or over 18 thousand travelers. The Holy Month of Ramadan played a big part where UAE travel into Turkey increased by 330.33 per cent.
"As Turkey's temperate summer continues to attract GCC travelers looking to get away from the desert heat, we found that business travel has also picked over the past few years," continued Ozer. "This increased intensity in travel illustrates the substantial bridge of commercial and trade links between Turkey and the region."
The greatest increase in the Gulf countries has also been observed in Kuwait, which sends the most tourists to Turkey after Saudi Arabia every year. Kuwait closed this year with an increase of 41.04 per cent. Bahrain so far this year saw traveler traffic grow by 31.86 per cent.
The most visited site in Istanbul was the Hagia Sophia, the Orthodox basilica turned imperial mosque, which graces the city's amazing skyline. That was followed by the Sultan Ahmed Mosque or Blue Mosque as it's popularly known, and finally, the Topkapi Palace that served as the Ottman Empire's administrative headquarters in the 15th century.