In the first six months of 2023, Istanbul saw a significant 17% rise in the number of foreign tourists, reaching a remarkable total of 7.9 million, according to the Istanbul Directorate of Culture and Tourism.
This figure exceeds the 6.75 million tourists who visited during the same period in 2022 and even surpasses pre-pandemic levels; the Turkish metropolis hosted 6.77 million tourists during the first half of 2019.
June 2023 alone welcomed 1.6 million international tourists, marking an 11% increase from 1.47 million in the same month the previous year. Visitors hailed from an impressive 194 countries, with the highest number of tourists arriving from Russia (10.57%), followed by Germany (7.13%), and the United States (6.32%).
The majority of visitors, about 70%, arrived via Istanbul Airport, while 27.31% used Sabiha Gökçen Airport. Istanbul's ports, including Haydarpaşa, Pendik, Tuzla, Zeytinburnu, Ambarlı, and Karaköy, saw an increase in the number of foreign tourists as well, with 42,825 visitors, an 83.70% surge compared to June 2022.
The hospitality sector in Istanbul comprises 788 facilities with a "Tourism Operation Certificate", offering a total of 143,612 beds. With the completion of ongoing investments, an additional 102 facilities and 19,534 beds will be added to Istanbul's accommodation capacity.
The number of tourists visiting "Tourism Operation Certificate" facilities was 1,147,390 in May 2023, with a total overnight stay of 2,557,983. The average duration of stay was 2.23 days, and the occupancy rate was 54.68%. In 2022, the total number of arrivals at these certified accommodation facilities was 12,549,074, with a total overnight stay of 29,629,533, an average duration of stay of 2.36 days, and an annual occupancy rate of 62.59%.
The surge in tourist numbers bodes well for the recovery of Istanbul's tourism sector, and the city continues to solidify its reputation as an attractive destination for international travellers.