Turkey 'nears Italy' as popular tourism destination

LONDON – The number of people visiting Turkey as tourists reached an all-time high of 37 million in 2014, pushing Turkey near Italy in most visited destinations chart, a cabinet minister said on Thursday.

Speaking in an exclusive interview, Minister of Culture and Tourism Omer Celik said that Turkey managed to attract 5.5 percent more tourists in 2014 compared to previous year despite the political and geopolitical crises around the region.

“In 2014 the number of foreigners visiting our country rose to 36.8 million from 34.9 million with a 5.5 percent increase compared to previous year.”

Pointing out that there are Turkish citizens who are resident in Europe and visiting Turkey each year, Celik said that this year their numbers are roughly expected to reach 5 million.

“If we add this, the number of Turkey’s visitors will come close to 42 million. This is a significant record. We progress toward becoming fifth most visited country from the sixth rank,” Celik said.

According to a World Tourism Organization 2014 report Turkey ranks as the sixth most popular destination after Italy which ranks fifth with over 47 million visitors.

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