Russians topped the list of foreign tourists entering Turkey through border gates in 2018, according to a Turkish Interior Ministry statement released on Thursday, Vesti FM reported.
Officials from the ministry’s Directorate General of Migration Management told Turkey’s Anadolu Agency that nearly 6 million Russians came to the country last year.
They were followed by over 4.4 million German citizens and more than 2.4 million Bulgarians, the Directorate said.
Russia was the first on the list in 2017 as well — with over 4.7 million visitors, followed by Germany with 3.5 million and Iran with 2.5 million people.
Germans, Russians and British led the way at the border crossings, respectively, in 2013 and 2014, data indicates, followed by Germans, Russians and Bulgarians in 2015, and Germans, Georgians and Bulgarians in 2016.
A Russian trade group said last month that Turkey was the most popular foreign destination for Russian tourists in 2018, with visitor numbers rising 25 percent.
The overall Russian tourist flow grew 8 percent in 2018 compared to the previous year, Maya Lomidze, head of the Russian Association of Tour Operators (ATOR), recently told a news conference in Moscow.
This growth was ensured thanks to high demand for tours to several countries, including Turkey, ATOR’s representative said.
“The tourist flow to Turkey grew 25 percent this year. The number one destination in 2018 was Turkey,” Lomidze added.
Other popular destinations for Russian tourists include Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, and France.