Safest Mediterranean destination

On account of the hygiene measures it adopted, Turkey was the safest destination of the Mediterranean hub last year, despite the pandemic. As a result of these efforts, 15 million tourists were hosted. This year, the number of foreign tourists visiting Turkey is expected to reach 30 million with vaccine’s help. In respect to healthcare tourism, the goal is to rank among the top three.

While striving to minimize the pandemic’s effects, Turkey carries out its activities towards strengthening its image in tourism as a ‘reliable country.’ The tourism sector achieved US$ 34 billion 520 million 332 thousand in 2019 with 51 million 860 thousand visitors. 58 million tourists were aimed for 2020. Though coronavirus obstructed achieving such targets, the sector is quite optimistic about 2021.


The tourists prioritized affordable prices in the past years; however, hygiene and safety replaced affordable prices with the emergence of the pandemic. For 50 percent of the consumers, the importance attached to hygiene has been an identifying factor. The Safe Tourism Certification program led by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism played a major role in Turkey’s becoming a reliable country. Ministry of Health, Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Foreign Affairs contributed to the program launched in cooperation with all the sector shareholders.


Facilities deemed to fulfill the requirements based on 166 varied criteria in the inspections conducted in hygiene and health by 18 different international accreditation bodies are entitled to the ‘Safe Tourism Certificate.’


In 2020, accommodation facilities with 50 or more rooms were obliged to acquire the Safe Tourism Certificate. As for the accommodation facilities to be launched as of 1 January 2021, the limit was identified as 30 rooms.
According to the data provided by Turkey Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA); 1975 accommodation facilities across Turkey have been delivering services with the ‘Safe Tourism Certificate’ as of 24 November 2020. With 374 facilities, Antalya is at the top of the list of hotels with this certificate. Istanbul follows Antalya with 373 hotels.


Turkey is among the countries that are preferred for shopping. Therefore, despite the pandemic, many tourists are visiting the country for shopping excursions. 143 thousand 269 Bulgarian tourists came to Turkey in November, and 127 thousand 116 visitors arrived in Turkey from Russia. 48 thousand 748 Iraqi tourists were hosted as well. In January - November period, the total number of tourists, including the Turkish workers living abroad reached 14 million 486 thousand 632. In this way, the goal of achieving 15 million tourists by the end of the year has already been attained as of December.


A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cappadocia is known for its fairy chimneys, valleys covered with natural rock formations, historical, natural and cultural riches. The hot air balloon tours in the site were suspended due to the pandemic. With the new normal, 115 thousand domestic and foreign tourists enjoyed the bird’s eye view of this touristic region.


Achieving a substantial leap in healthcare tourism with its investments in recent years, Turkey hosted 1.5 million tourists visiting the country to be healed. In 2019, Turkey was the 4th country in the world ranking. India remaining at the top of the list was Turkey’s major competitor. Malaysia, followed by Thailand, is the second country on the list. Mexico ranking the 5th in the list follows Turkey. Turkey is aimed to enter the global top three in this area with its modern pandemic hospitals built at the Anatolian and European sides of Istanbul. The new hospitals’ featuring airports are regarded as a critical advantage.


* Plastic surgery hair transplantation
* Heart surgery
* Orthopedics
* Oncology
* IVF treatment

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