A record 33m international tourists are expected to travel to Turkey this year, according to the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies.
The influx of visitors is expected to see inbound tourism revenues hit US$25bn for the first time, making it a key contributor to the national economy.
Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism says the number of international visitor numbers could surge to 50m per annum in the coming decade, increasing annual revenues to more than US$50bn.
Tourism directly created more than 2m jobs in Turkey last year, and contributed 10.9 per cent to the nation’s GDP, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.
Half the sector’s GDP contribution came from inbound visitors, while the rest was from domestic tourism, which grew 4.9 percent - almost double the rate of the international contribution, at 2.5 percent per annum, WTTC said.
“If the growth in domestic tourism continues at around 5 percent each year then by 2023 this will account for 59 percent of total GDP contribution,” WTTC executive director Geoffrey Breeze said on Thursday.
Mehmet Onkal, co-organiser of the upcoming Turkey & Neighbours Hotel Investment Conference in Istanbul said tourism was becoming an increasingly important industry for the country.
“Tourism is known to contribute to overall economic success by increasing job opportunities across a multitude of sectors, which in turn leads to increased consumer spending. Everyone benefits, as tourism becomes a catalyst for economic growth,” he said.