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Which Sectors are Benefiting the Most from Tourist Spending in Turkey?

Leading global technology company in payment systems, Mastercard, has released its 2023 tourism season report for Turkey.

The report, prepared based on POS expenditures made by Mastercard and Maestro branded foreign cards in Turkey and selected other countries, compares the results of the first nine months of 2022 and 2023.

According to Mastercard’s report, between January 1 and September 19, 2023, physical expenditures made by foreign tourists visiting Turkey saw a 19% increase compared to the previous year. A breakdown of the expenditures revealed a 25% increase in the number of transactions and a 12% increase in the total transaction amount. The primary factor behind this rise was identified as the increase in the number of tourists and subsequently, the number of transactions made.

Istanbul: The Champion of Tourism Revenue

When examining the provincial POS expenditures for the related period, Istanbul exhibited a 16% growth, accounting for 51% of the total expenditure in Turkey. It was followed by Antalya with a 22% growth and Muğla with a 32% growth, maintaining its status as one of the favorite destinations for tourists, holding a 9% share of total tourist expenditure.

British Tourists Lead the Spending

50% of the expenditures made by foreign tourists in Turkey were from tourists from the United Kingdom, Germany, the USA, Saudi Arabia, and the Netherlands. British tourists’ expenditures stood out with a 34% increase compared to the last year, holding an 18% share of total expenditures. Saudi Arabia showed the highest growth with 298%, but their share in expenditures was 4%. The highest per card expenditure was $1,280, made by Kuwait cards. The UK, with an 18% share, was followed by the USA with 12% and Germany with 11%.

Accommodation Sector Maintains its Peak

Looking at the sectoral distribution of expenditures, the accommodation sector, with an average transaction amount of $187 and a 26% share in expenditures, retained its top spot from last year. The average transaction amount was $94 in clothing, $16 in groceries, and $24 in restaurants. Turkey also ranked first among the evaluated countries in terms of the amount of expenditure in the health sector, increasing card transaction amounts by 20% in this sector.

Highest Share in Clothing Sector

Although the share of the clothing sector in total tourist expenditures in Turkey was calculated as 15% this year, down from 20% last year, Turkey still managed to be the country where the most expenditure was made in the clothing sector compared to other tourist destinations. Following Turkey, Italy with 14%, France with 11%, Spain with 8%, and Greece with 7% are the leading countries in clothing sector expenditures.

Summary of Key Findings:

  • Foreign card POS expenditures in Turkey increased by 19% compared to the same period of the previous year.
  • 50% of the expenditures made by foreign cards in Turkey were by tourists from the UK, Germany, the USA, Saudi Arabia, and the Netherlands.
  • The accommodation sector maintained its dominance with a 26% share in expenditures.
  • Turkey continues to have a higher share in the clothing sector compared to other countries.

*Cash withdrawals and online card expenditures are excluded from the scope.

This report by Mastercard highlights the robust growth in Turkey’s tourism sector, reflecting the country’s enduring appeal as a top destination for international travelers, and underscores the significant economic impact of tourism-related expenditures across various sectors.

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