The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced Turkey to close its borders, affecting the country's vital tourism industry.
Turkey's tourism industry has been growing at an unprecedented speed for the last three years. With the border closure and the grounding of all outgoing and incoming flights to tackle the coronavirus threat, tourist arrivals have come to a near standstill.
The country's tourist hotspots and cultural destinations are almost empty, with a majority of 80 million Turks staying indoors and following the government's home-quarantine advisory.
Prior to coronavirus, most Turkish cities were teeming with locals and visitors in the streets. Almost all squares and historic and natural tourist spots are now deserted.
Following the growth trend experienced in previous years, in 2019 the number of incoming tourists in Turkey increased by 13.7 percent, reaching 51.8 million people and setting an all-time record.
Before the coronavirus pandemic’s catastrophic impact on all kinds of economic activities, Turkey had set the goal of reaching the target of hosting 75 million guests by 2023.
According to recent data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK), Turkey's tourism sector continues to experience a positive trend and, together with the rising number of incoming tourists, the country is likely to earn $34.5 billion from the tourism industry alone, marking a historic milestone.
Istanbul is the cultural and historic capital of Turkey and the most populated city in the country with 15.5 million.
Istanbul and Antalya were at the top of the most visited destinations. Both of these cities hosted nearly 30 million tourists last year.
Antalya has become a brand renowned around the world in recent years. It has more than 1,700 attractions together with a 600,000 bed capacity when it comes to accommodation.
The combination of breathtaking natural beauty along with great food makes Turkey one of the top tourist destinations in the world.
The coastal city Izmir offers separate alternatives not only with sea, sand, sun but also with its historical and natural beauty.
Mugla’s popular resort towns on the Aegean shore, Bodrum and Marmaris, attract tourists from all over the world with their unique landscape, white summer houses and local hospitality. However, at this time all these beaches are empty.
In order to support the vital industry, the government has approved loans specific to the tourism sector will be restructured with a grace period of up to 12 months.