Istanbul hosted 13.4 million foreign tourists in 2018, according to the tourism statistics report prepared by the Istanbul Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism. German visitors topped the list of foreign visitors at more than 1 million.
Istanbul Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism prepared the Istanbul Tourism Statistics Report for 2018 taking into consideration the number of foreign tourists who entered the country via Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen airports and the Haydarpaşa, Pendik, Tuzla, Zeytinburnu, Ambarlı and Karaköy ports.
According to the information compiled from the report, a total of 13.4 million foreign tourists came to Istanbul in 2018, up by 24 percent compared to 2017 when a total of 10.8 million foreign visitors arrived in the city.
In December alone, a total of more than 1 million foreign tourists visited Istanbul, marking a 21.3 percent increase compared to the same month in 2017.
According to statistics, a total of 13.3 million tourists came to Istanbul by air in 2018, with a 23.9 percent rise compared to 2017 when a total of 10.8 million foreign visitors entered the city.
The number of tourists who came to Istanbul by sea rose to 36,464 in 2018 from 30,337 in 2017.
A total of 10,482,975 tourists entered the city via Atatürk Airport which saw the greatest number of foreign passengers, while a total of 2.9 million foreigners entered the city via Sabiha Gökçen Airport.
As far as the nationality of foreign visitors coming to Istanbul in 2018 goes, more than 1 million Germans visited the city, taking the lead among other nationalities with an 8 percent share.
The number of Iranians visiting the city stood at 934,860, Saudi Arabians at 628,577, Russians at 618,511, Iraqis at 609,589, the British at 455,608, the French at 448,872 and Americans at 370,112.
The report also included statistics regarding foreign visitors coming to Istanbul from Arab countries in the last three years.
The number of tourists from Arab countries soared to 3.4 million in 2018 from 2.6 million in 2017 and 1.9 million in 2016. The Arab tourists constituted 25.4 percent of all foreign visitors.
The report indicated that the number of transit passengers who landed in Istanbul but did not enter the city was 9.6 million in 2018.
Meanwhile, according to the accommodation facility data in the report, a total of 3,461 tourism travel agencies out of 10,257 in Turkey, corresponding to 34 percent, are in Istanbul. A total of 98 percent of tourism travel agencies in Istanbul are in Group A, 1 percent in Group B, and 1 percent Group C.
A total of 563 facilities with a total of 114,717 beds have Culture and Tourism Ministry’s “operation license,” while a total of 156 accommodation facilities with a total of 27,161 beds with the ministry’s “investment license” are under construction.
In Istanbul, there are 138,022-people catering and entertainment facilities with an “operation license,” and 30,958 of them belonging to sea vessels defined as “floating restaurants,” “daytrip boats” and “commercial yachts.”
The report indicates that catering and entertainment facilities that are under construction have a capacity of 11,738 people in total.