Turkey has invested heavily in tourism over recent years, and is now reaping the fruits of its efforts. In 2011, the number of visitors to Turkey reached 31 million, generating $23 billion in tourism revenues.
Minister of Culture and Tourism Ertugrul Gunay said that number of tourists visiting Turkey had increased by 137% since 2002. Similarly, the $23 billion in tourism revenues last year is sharp increase from the 11.9 billion dollars [tourists brought into the country] in 2002. The number of visitors to museums and historical sites rose by 13 % in comparision to last year, reaching 28,462,893. The revenues generated by these visits increased from 170 million Turkish liras to 253.9 million liras.
The most visited museum was the Hagia Sophia [in Istanbul], with 3, 196,000 people [stepping through its gates]. This was the first year in which Saint Sophia overtook Topkapi Palace [as the number one tourist location]. Topkapi was visited by 3,024,000 people [in 2011]. Other popular sites were Ephesus (1,099,000 visitors) and the Mevlana Museum in Konya with 1,733,000 guests.