Istanbul, a rising destination but still cheap
Istanbul is again listed among the top 10 destinations in Mastercard’s 2018 Global Destination Cities Index, a list led by Bangkok, London and Paris. Ranked ninth, the metropolis has the highest growth expectation in the number of incoming tourists this year (19 percent, compared to 0.9 percent in 2017), the same index reported.
Antalya is also among the top cities, ranked 11th with 9.42 million visitors, closely following Seoul with 9.54 million. Renowned as the capital of Turkish tourism, Antalya ranks fifth in terms of expenditure per visitor at $3,947, behind Phuket in Thailand at $14,815, Dubai at $11,006, Palma de Mallorca of Spain at $9,613 and Mecca in Saudi Arabia at $4,330.
The index ranks 162 cities, the top global travel destinations according to the total number of international overnight visitor arrivals and their spending for the 2017 calendar year, also providing a growth forecast for 2018.
The annual growth of international overnight visitors at the Top 10 destination cities was up in 2017, except for Seoul, and the forecast for 2018 indicates across-the-board growth, with Istanbul expecting the largest uptick in visitors.
Istanbul hosted 10.7 million overnight visitors in 2017, with the average tourist saying 5.8 nights, according to the index. Of the most visited cities, Istanbul comes in with the lowest spending per day at just $108 on average.
Dubai continues to be the top ranking destination city based on overnight visitor expenditures, with visitors spending a whopping $537 per day on average, a Mastercard press release noted. Mecca, which debuted in the number two spot, Palma de Mallorca, Spain, and Phuket, Thailand followed.
Visitors spent a total of $5.8 billion in 2016 in Istanbul and $6.75 billion in 2017, a growth rate of 14.35 percent, according to Mastercard estimates.
Russian nationals led the incoming tourists both in Istanbul and Antalya. Iranians constituted the second in the list for Istanbul whilst Germans are the second largest tourist group visiting Antalya, followed by Ukrainians. However, the report showed that the number of Germans visiting Istanbul has almost halved since 2009 as the ratio of Iranians and Russians has more than doubled.