Turkey is reporting that more American travelers visited the country from January to April 2009 than in the same period in 2008. Positive signs include the recent opening of the $1.4 billion Mardan Palace, and Turkish Airlines’ intention to purchase over 100 planes in the coming years.
Though the increase in U.S. visitation was slight—106,903 in January-April 2009 versus 104,374 in January-April 2008, an increase of 2.4 percent—the increase comes at a time when almost every other major European tourism destination has seen declines in U.S. visitation. The numbers are also encouraging as Turkey headed into its main tourism season of June through September.
The year-over-year gain can be seen as all the more impressive due to the time periods being compared. Experts generally point to September/October 2008—which lies between the dates being compared in these new tourism figures—as the months when the current recession came to the forefront and Americans markedly reigned in spending.