Turkey hosted 5.4 million foreign visitors in the first seven months of 2020, the country’s Culture and Tourism Ministry said on Monday. 

The figures decreased by 78% year-on-year in the January-July period from 24.7 million due to measures to stem the spread of the COVID19 pandemic, the official data showed.

After appearing in China last December, the novel coronavirus has spread all around the world, causing millions of infections and hundreds of thousands of deaths.

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

After February, Turkey postponed the tourism season to June and canceled a number of events such as fairs and expos.

With a normalization process starting in June, tourist facilities in Turkey reopened with rigorous measures to ensure safety and avoid the virus.

This January to July, Istanbul continued to be Turkey’s top tourist draw, attracting nearly 50.07% of foreign visitors – around 2.7 million.

Edirne, in northwestern Turkey, which borders both Bulgaria and Greece, saw the second-highest number of foreigners, with 817,292.

The Mediterranean resort city of Antalya followed with 9.8% or over 648,768 foreign visitors.

Germans accounted for over 11.39% or nearly 2.67 million of the visitors, followed by Bulgarians with 8.33%, Georgians with 6.39%, Russians with 6.12%, and Ukrainians with 4.87%.

In July, the country welcomed 932,927 foreign visitors, down from 6.6 million in July 2019, but up from 214,768 in the previous month.

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

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