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Turkey Plays Catch-up with Tourism Arrival Figures

More than two million tourists arrived in Turkey for holidays during July, an increase of 10% over the same month last year, according to the Turkish government, which shows that Greece’s neighbor quickly overcame the negative results the tourism sector suffered because of the recent war in Iraq.

Arrivals during the difficult months of March and April dropped by some 24%, while in May the decrease in arrivals was kept down to about 13%. In June, arrivals increased by 3.4% when compared with the same month last year.

Increases in arrivals came as a result of a strong wave of tourists from Arab countries. Turkish newspaper reports say the arrival number from Arab points was almost double the number recorded last year for the same period. It attributed the increase to Turkey’s ‘anti-American’ stance concerning Iraq.

For the first six months of this year, the same report says tourism foreign exchange for the country dropped some 9% when compared with the same period last year. For the whole of 2002, Turkey says it pulled in some $12 billion in tourism foreign exchange.

Meanwhile, a recent report from Turkey’s travel agency association (Tursab) shows that outgoing travel increased by some 17% after the difficulties encountered from 1999’s natural disasters and the 2001 economic crisis.

According to the study, the average number of overnight stays of customers buying package tours from travel agencies number 6.4. About 78 percent of those traveling abroad prefer European destinations and one in two prefer city tours during these travels. Those staying in 5-star hotels number nearly 53 per cent of the total and the rate of those accommodating in 3 and 4-star hotels is 42 per cent.

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