ANKARA, May 12 (Xinhua) -- Turkey's tourism sector is negatively affected by the Ukrainian crisis, but the country is optimistic to increase its revenue for 2022 by targeting Western tourists.
Turkey's Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy told the HaberTurk broadcaster on Thursday that the government has set a target of 42 million tourists and 35 billion U.S. dollars in tourism income for 2022.
Turkey had a record number of tourists in 2019, but its tourism revenue regressed in 2020 due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
The government wanted to attract more foreign holidaymakers in the summer, but the Russia-Ukraine crisis has dealt a blow to the tourism industry, he added.
However, the Turkish government aims to attract more visitors from Western countries.
"Our alternative markets are Western tourists," he explained, noting the initial data for the tourist arrivals proved this.
Russian and Ukrainian tourists were the main sources of income for the Turkish tourism industry, particularly for resorts along Turkey's Mediterranean coast.
Ersoy said that Turkey has received more than 20 million tourists from the two countries in the past three years. In 2021, 4.7 million Russians and nearly 2 million Ukrainians visited Turkey.
Turkey attracted a total of 30 million foreign tourists and achieved 24.5 billion dollars in revenue in 2021, he added. After receiving 45 million tourists in 2019 and generating a total of 34.5 billion dollars in revenue, Turkey suffered losses of over 70 percent in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. ■