Some 838,000 foreigners visited Istanbul in the first quarter of the year, marking a decade-high for the city, according to data provided by Istanbul’s Culture and Tourism Directorate.
A 23.8 percent increase was visible in numbers in the first quarter of the year, from October 2012 to March 2013, setting the number of Istanbul visitors to 838,201. The increase came despite the global financial difficulties, especially in Europe, where Turkey’s target tourists are generally found, the Directorate adds.
Istanbul overcame the winter’s seasonal troubles and showed a healthy growth in tourism, the statement said.
The statement released by the Directorate shows that one of every three tourists coming to Turkey visits Istanbul. In 2012, 28.7 percent of all tourists coming to Turkey visited Istanbul, official numbers showed.
The statement further determined Istanbul’s recent attempts to promote its cultural and touristic organizations, art events and efforts towards seminar and conference tourism, as the underlying impetus for the increase.
German tourists topped the list of visitors to Istanbul, accounting for 10 percent of the total number of tourists to the city, followed by Russians with 6 percent. British citizens made up 4 percent of the total, and tourists from the U.S. amounted to 4 percent. French visitors decreased to 4 percent as well.
The top five countries that Istanbul received the most tourists from, Germany, Russia, Britain, USA and France, were the same as in 2012.
The numbers continue to show an increase in Middle Eastern tourists visiting the city as well, the directorate said.
Recent numbers have shown a sharp increase in Chinese tourists visiting Turkey, reaching a 10,000 threshold, equating to the total number of tourists coming to Turkey from the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).