Turkey’s foreign visitors in May less than a quarter of 2019

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ISTANBUL – The number of foreign visitors arriving in Turkey was 936,282 in May, a fraction of the 4 million who came in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic hit but up from the same period last year when restrictions were first imposed, data showed on Friday.

Turkey began closing borders and restricting activity when its first COVID-19 case was recorded in March 2020. Compared to May 2020, the number of foreign arrivals last month jumped by 3,038% from 29,829.

Month on month, the arrivals surged in May despite a 17-day full lockdown to stem a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The hit to tourism has hurt economic growth and exacerbated a rise in the current account deficit. Prospects have been revived by a sharp fall in daily coronavirus cases to around 5,000 from a peak of more than 60,000, as well as an acceleration in vaccinations.

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