Record number of tourists visit Istanbul

Nearly a million people preferred Turkey’s financial and cultural capital Istanbul as their touristic venue this quarter, a record number in the past ten years.

Istanbul Cultural and Tourism Directorate said on Tuesday that at least 838,201 tourists visited Istanbul in the first three months of this year, a 23,8 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

The directorate hailed progress made by Istanbul in the sector of tourism at a time of economic recession across Europe.

The data also showed that every two of three tourists came to Turkey between Oct. 2012 and March 2013 visited Istanbul.

In the list of countries that sent the highest number of visitors to Istanbul in the first quaster, 10 percent came from Germany, followed by Russia with six percent and the UK with 4 percent. The US came in fourth with 4 percent and France fifth with 4 percent.

The number of visitors to Istanbul hit 9.5 million in 2012, with authorities expecting this figure exceed 10 million this year.

Tourists are expected to spend at least $11 billion this year. This number, however, was roughly half of the spending seen in international shopping capitals London and New York, which topped the list at $21.1 and $19.4 billion.