Trade gap narrowed by 28.4 percent and annual tourism revenue surged 12.3 percent in 2018, figures released by statistical authority and tourism ministry say.

Istanbul, Turkey's world-famous touristic city, was the top destination in 2018 with 13.4 million tourists, accounting for 34 percent of all foreign visitors.
Istanbul, Turkey's world-famous touristic city, was the top destination in 2018 with 13.4 million tourists, accounting for 34 percent of all foreign visitors. (AFP)

Turkey's foreign trade gap in 2018 narrowed 28.4 percent year-on-year, the country's statistical authority announced on Thursday.

The figure reached $55 billion last year, down from a $76.8 billion deficit in 2017, according to TurkStat.

Turkish exports rose seven percent on a yearly basis to hit $168 billion, as imports dropped to $223 billion, indicating a decrease of 4.6 percent.

The exports-to-imports coverage ratio advanced to 75.3 percent last year, up from 67.1 percent in 2017.

In 2017, the country's exports were nearly $157 billion, while imports were $233.8 billion.

Top trading partner

Turkey’s exports to EU, its main trading partner with a share of 50 percent, surged to 13.7 percent year-on-year to total at $84 billion last year.

Exports to Asian and African countries, other export markets for Turkish products, were $41.8 billion and $14 billion, respectively, in 2018.

According to TurkStat, Germany was the top export market of Turkey, with some $16.1 billion worth of exports.

It was followed by the UK with $11.1 billion, Italy with nearly $9.6 million and Iraq with $8.4 billion in 2018.

The data showed that manufacturing accounted for the lion's share of total exports, at 93.9 percent or $157.8 billion. 

Tourism income totals $29.5B

Meanwhile, Turkey welcomed 39.5 million foreign visitors in 2018, the Culture and Tourism Ministry announced on Thursday.

The number of foreign visitors last year rose by 21.84 percent year-on-year.

Istanbul, Turkey's world-famous touristic city, was the top destination with 13.4 million tourists – 34 percent of all foreign visitors.

Turkey's tourism income totalled $29.5 billion in 2018, according to the country's statistical authority. 

The annual tourism revenue surged 12.3 percent last year, up from $26.3 billion in the previous year, TurkStat reported.

Turkey welcomed 45.6 million visitors in 2018, marking a 18.1 percent hike from the previous year.

Source: AA