Turkey attracted 12.03 million foreign visitors in the first 11 months of 2020, the country’s Culture and Tourism Ministry said on Friday.

The figures fell 71.95% year-on-year in the January-November period from 42.9 million, the official data showed, as expected, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and measures to stem it.

After appearing in China in December 2019, the novel coronavirus has spread to all seven continents, causing millions of infections and hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Efforts to curb the virus’ spread – focusing on people staying at home and avoiding most human contact – have hit economies hard, especially the tourism and travel sectors.

From January to November, the historic metropolis of Istanbul continued to be Turkey’s top tourist draw, attracting nearly 38.2% of foreign visitors – around 4.6 million.

The Mediterranean resort city of Antalya saw the second-highest number of foreign visitors, with 3.2 million.

Edirne, in northwestern Turkey, which borders both Bulgaria and Greece, followed them with 1.68 million foreign visitors.

Russians accounted for over 16.94% or around 2 million visitors, followed by Bulgarians with 9.48%, Germans with 8.91%, Ukrainians with 8.02%, and British nationals with 6.68%.

In November, the country welcomed 833,991 foreign visitors, down from 2.2 million in November 2019.

Last year, more than 45 million foreigners entered Turkey, up from nearly 39.5 million in 2018.

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