Turkey climbed four places in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Travel and Tourism Development Index to 45th out of 117 countries in 2021.
Turkey’s score also increased by 1.3 percent in 2021 from 2019 to 4.2. The overall rating ranges from 1 to 7, where 1 is the worst and 7 is the best.
The country’s tourism industry is looking to welcome more foreign holidaymakers this year as most countries have eased travel restrictions imposed amid the coronavirus pandemic and Turkey’s COVID situation has improved.
The arrival of foreign tourists in Turkey has already increased by 173% to 7.5 million people in January-April compared to last year.
Almost 2.6 million foreign tourists visited the country in April alone, a staggering 226 percent increase from the same month last year.
Earlier this month, Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy confirmed that Turkey aims to welcome 42 million foreign tourists and generate $35 billion in tourism revenue this year, compared to $24.5 billion in revenue and 30 million tourist arrivals in 2021.
Two years later, the picture looked very different as COVID-19 restrictions hit the travel and tourism (T&T) sector hard. According to the WEF, it faced $4.5 trillion in losses and 62 million jobs in 2020 alone, impacting the standard of living and the well-being of communities around the world.
“The war in Ukraine has exacerbated the instability and economic downturn in the sector. Against this backdrop, the first WEF Travel and Tourism Development Index (T&T) reflects the growing role of sustainability and sustainability in T&T growth, as well as the sector’s role in economic and social development more broadly.”
The T&T sector is a major driver of economic development, global connectivity and the livelihoods of some of the populations and businesses most vulnerable and hardest hit by the pandemic, it said, adding that therefore supporting the development and recovery of T&T, which in turn will help the global recovery, will strengthen sustainability and support for all those who depend on the sector for work will be critical.
“The T&T sector has faced difficult operating conditions, but changing demand dynamics have created opportunities and the need to adapt: in the short term, challenges such as capacity cuts, geopolitical tensions and labor shortages are slowing recovery.”
Japan topped the WEF list, followed by the US and Spain. France and Germany finished fourth and fifth.
Meanwhile, Japan announced on May 26 that it would reopen to tourists from 98 countries and regions starting June 10, ending a two-year shutdown from the pandemic, but travelers would only be allowed in with tour groups.
Foreign tourist arrivals to Japan have fallen by more than 90 percent in 2020 from a record 31.9 million a year earlier, nearly wiping out the pre-pandemic inbound tourism market of more than 4 trillion yen ($31 billion).