2011 Banner Year for Turkish Tourism Industry

Article Summary
The Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism has announced that Turkey generated $23 million in tourism revenues last year, attracting more than 28 million tourists. For the first time, the Hagia Sophia surpassed Topkapi Palace as the number one tourist destination in the country.

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.

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