Turkey tourism numbers fall in first quarter of 2016

ANKARA (AA) – The number of visitors to Turkey in the first quarter of the year is sharply down according to data released on Friday, suggesting rising geopolitical tension around the region is weighing on tourism.

Visitor numbers slipped 4.4 percent on a year-on-year basis in the January-March period to over 5.1 million people, according to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute.

However, the report shows an even more pronounced drop in tourism revenues compared to visitor numbers.

“In the first quarter, which is January, February and March of 2016, tourism income decreased by 16.5 percent and declined to $4.66 billion,” the document read.

The average tourist expenditure – the main source of the country’s tourism income – was $717 per capita, compared to $737 in the previous quarter.

Tourism numbers have been a matter of concern recently as Turkey stands at the crossroads of regional conflicts such as Iraq and Syria. The country has struggled against contagion from these conflicts and terrorist organizations such as Daesh and the PKK.