UPDATES WITH MORE DETAILS AND BACKGROUND INFORMATION
By Muhammed Ali Gurtas
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey's domestic tourism expenditure rose 24.9 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of this year, according to the country's statistical authority on Monday.
TurkStat reported that domestic tourists’ expenditures — including individual and package tour expenditures — from January to March totaled 6.3 billion Turkish liras ($1.65 billion), compared to spending of some 5 billion Turkish liras ($1.36 billion) in the same period last year.
"In this quarter, while 94.2 percent of domestic tourism expenditure was individual with 5.94 billion Turkish liras, 5.8 percent of it was package tour expenditures with 364.6 million Turkish liras," the institute said.
According to Turkey's Central Bank, the average U.S. dollar/Turkish lira exchange rate was 3.82 in the first quarter of this year, while one dollar traded for 3.70 liras on average in the same period last year.
"In this quarter, domestic visitors made 112.8 million overnights," TurkStat said, noting that the average number of overnights was 7.3 and the average expenditure per trip was 407 Turkish liras (some $107).
According to the official data, nearly 11.9 million residents took internal trips in the first quarter while the number of journeys with one or more than one overnights amounted to some 15.5 million with an annual hike of 22.3 percent.
– Purpose of trips
TurkStat noted that the primary purpose of domestic trips was visiting relatives, accounting for a 68.7-percent share in the first three months of this year.
"The secondary purpose of trip was travel, leisure, holiday with 15.9 percent and the third was health with 8.7 percent," the institute said.
Trips for meeting/conference/courses/seminars and journeys for commercial relations/attending fairs were the other major travel purposes over the same period.
"In this quarter, according to number of overnights by type of accommodation, domestic visitors stayed mostly at 'house of friend and relative' with 92.2 million overnights," TurkStat said, adding:
"While 'hotel' took second place with 8.25 million overnights, 'own house' took third place with 6.98 million overnights."
Official figures showed that Turkish residents spent most for health tourism with an average per trip expenditure of 641 Turkish liras ($168), followed by culture tourism and travel/leisure/holiday trips.
The institute also noted that transportation expenditures, clothing/giftware spending, and eating/drinking consumption were the top three items under individual expenditures in the January-March period.
According to TurkStat, the number of residents in Turkey was 80.8 million as of December, 31, 2017.
Last year, the country's domestic tourism expenditure amounted to 35.3 billion Turkish liras (around $9.7 billion), as 77.2 million trips with one or more than one overnights were recorded.
The statistical authority will release its next report on this subject on Nov., 7.