Total foreign visitors to Turkey rose 18.67 percent year-on-year in March to 1.305 million, official data showed on Tuesday, pointing to continued strong growth in the tourism sector.
Tourism is an important source of foreign currency for Turkey, which has a large current account deficit.
The Tourism Ministry said German citizens accounted for 20.5 percent of foreign visitors during the month, followed by 8.6 percent from Iran and 6.4 percent from Bulgaria.
Some 42.2 percent of foreign visitors in March entered the country in the largest city Istanbul, with 22.3 percent arriving at the main Mediterranean tourist hub of Antalya, which comes to prominence during the summer season.
In the first quarter as a whole, the number of foreign visitors to Turkey climbed 14.73 percent year-on-year to 2.985 million, with 18.9 percent from Germany, 7.6 percent from Bulgaria and 6.2 percent from Iran.
The first quarter figures showed a continuation of the strong trend last year when the number of tourists jumped 18 percent and total spending reached $18.5 billion. Globally tourism expanded 6.5 percent last year.
Sector officials expect the number of foreign tourists to rise 12 percent this year as whole.
Foreign visitor data used to be released by the Turkish Statistics Institute but as of this year the figures are published by the ministry.
Last Mod: 22 Nisan 2008, 14:21