Istanbul's 2019 tourist figures are expected to reach 15.5 million, exceeding the city's official population, said Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (İTO) President Şekib Avdagıç in a statement this week.
“There has been an increase in the number of tourists from Western countries. There has been a 27 percent increase in the unit price of hotel rooms Istanbul based on foreign currencies. Occupancy rates have reached the 87 percent mark,” said Avdagıç, who said that the figures which indicate Istanbul's tourist figures will surpass its population amount to a “psychological threshold”.
The number of tourists coming to Istanbul had increased for years until 2016, when the city was rocked by a number of terrorist attacks and the failed coup attempt of July 15. This devastated the city's tourism industry, and though tourists from countries in the region still came in large numbers, the numbers of tourists from the West and other parts of the world decreased significantly.
According to figures from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 13.4 million tourists visited Istanbul in 2018, a 24 percent increase from the previous year, an indication of the rebound of the city's tourist sector.