Turk tourism up in August

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The number of foreigners visiting Turkey rose 1.6 percent year-on-year in August, in the peak season of a weak year for Turkish tourism, official data showed yesterday. Militant attacks, instability in the Middle East and a bird flu outbreak earlier this year have discouraged tourists from visiting Turkey this year, and benefited rival markets such as Spain. The Turkish Statistics Institute (TUIK) said in a statement that 2.9 million foreigners came to Turkey in August. That brought the total for the first eight months of the year to 13.9 million, down 4.9 percent on last year. Turkey had been aiming to attract 26 million tourists this year, although it has since said it will miss that target, and was looking for revenues of $20 billion, compared to last year’s $18 billion. This year’s second quarter tourism revenues dipped 1.8 percent to $3.693 billion. The third quarter will be the most important for the sector, which plays a key role in reining in a gaping current account deficit.