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Tourism in Turkey is focused largely on a variety of archaeological and historical sites, and on seaside resorts along its Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. In the recent years, Turkey has also becoming a popular destination for culture, spa, and health care tourism.

Contents

Istanbul

Istanbul is one of the most important tourism spots not only in Turkey but also in the world. There are thousands of hotels and other tourist-oriented industries in the city, catering to both vacationers and visiting professionals. Turkey's largest city, Istanbul, has a number of major attractions derived from its huge historical status as capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. These include the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (the "Blue Mosque"), the Hagia Sophia, the Topkapı Palace, the Basilica Cistern, the Dolmabahçe Palace, the Galata Tower, the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Bazaar, and the Pera Palas. Istanbul has also recently became one of the biggest shopping centers of European region by hosting malls and shopping centers like Metrocity, Akmerkez and Cevahir Mall (which is the biggest mall in Europe and seventh largest shopping center in the world). Other attractions include sporting events, museums, and cultural events.

Other parts of Turkey

Beach vacations and Blue Cruise, particularly for Turkish city-dwellers and visitors from Western Europe, are also central to the Turkish tourism industry. Most beach resorts are located along the southwestern and southern Aegean coast, especially along the Mediterranean coast near Antalya. Antalya is also accepted as the tourism capital of Turkey. [1] Major resort towns include Bodrum, Fethiye, Marmaris, Kuşadası, Cesme, Didim and Alanya.

Major cultural and historical attractions elsewhere in the country include the sites of Ephesus, Troy, Pergamon, House of Virgin Mary, Pamukkale, Hierapolis, Trabzon] (where one of the oldest monastery Sümela Monastery), Konya (where the poet Rumi had spent most of his life), Didyma, Church of Antioch, religious places in Mardin (such as Deyrülzafarân Monastery), and the ruined cities and landscapes of Cappadocia. (see List of Archaeological Sites Sorted by Country-Turkey)

Diyarbakır is also an important historic city, although tourism is on a relatively small level due to waning armed conflicts.

Ankara has an historic old town, and although is not exactly a touristic city, is usual as a stop for travelers who go to Cappadocia. The city enjoys an excellent cultural life too, having a lot of museums and cultural events. The Anıtkabir is also in Ankara. It is the mausoleum of Atatürk (meaning ancestor of the Turks), the founder of the Republic of Turkey.

Beach in Fethiye

Characteristics of Turkey's tourists

Ölüdeniz (Dead Sea) Beach, Fethiye, Turkey

Foreign tourists mainly come from the United Kingdom, Germany, Israel, Russia and Japan, but tourists from Arab countries, Iran, the USA, France and Scandinavia are not uncommon. There seems to be a trend in which British tourists tend to go on holiday to Aegean resorts such as Bodrum or Marmaris, whilst German and Russian tourists almost exclusively go to resorts on the Mediterranean coast of southern Turkey (e.g. Antalya) and Japanese tourists mainly visit Istanbul and historical sites such as Ephesus (although in both cases, tourists from almost all over the world can be found in these places, Japanese tourists visit them in very large numbers).

People from Spain have become frequent tourists in recent years. In 2007, 200,000 Spaniards visited Turkey. Most Spaniards book hotels in Istanbul (it is becoming especially popular among them) and many of them also visit Cappadocia.

Statistics of tourism in Turkey

Foreign tourist arrivals increased substantially in Turkey between 2002 and 2005, from 12.8 million to 21.2 million, which made Turkey a top-10 destination in the world for foreign visitors. 2005 revenues are US$17.5 billion which also made Turkey the top-10 biggest revenue owners in the world.

  • Year - Arrivals
1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
9,750,000 7,460,000 8,000,000 10,400,000 12,800,000 13,300,000 16,800,000 21,200,000 18,500,000 23,800,000 30,900,000

See also

References

External links

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