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Cruise passengers arriving in Türkiye leap over 79% in Q1

Cruise passenger traffic in Türkiye exceeded the 61,000 mark in the first three months of the year as it leaped over 79% on annual basis, the data compiled by Anadolu Agency (AA) showed on Wednesday.

The number of cruise ship passengers covering arrivals, departures and transit passengers reached 61,113 in the first quarter, indicating an increase of 79.15% compared to the same period last year, the data sourced from the General Directorate of Maritime Affairs of the Transport and Infrastructure Ministry showed.

Fifty ships have docked at the country’s ports during the January-March period compared to 42 that arrived in the same period last year, the data showed.

Looking on a monthly basis, while 12 cruise ships docked at ports in January of last year, two in February, and 28 in March, these figures were recorded as 18, five, and 27, during the same months this year.

With these ships, some 753 passengers arrived in Türkiye in January and 627 in March last year, totaling 1,380. This year, with 893 passengers arriving in the first month of the new year, 16 a month later and 2,042 in March, this figure has climbed to 2,951 in total.

On the other hand, in the same period, the number of passengers departing from Türkiye to other countries was registered at 1,600 last year. Latest data suggests this figure has also climbed to 3,308 in the first three months of 2024.

Moreover, the transit cruise passengers number soared 76.19% on an annual basis and reached 54,854 in January-March versus 31,132 a year ago.

During this period, Kuşadası port in western Türkiye hosted the most cruise ships and passengers. The port welcomed 26 ships and 35,885 passengers in the first three months of 2024.

Following was Istanbul Galataport, hosting some eight ships with 9,821 passengers in the same period.

The northern coastal city of Samsun welcomed four ships carrying 3,905 cruise tourists at the same time. This port was followed by Trabzon, Çanakkale, and Amasra with three ships each. These regions were visited by 2,957, 2,678, and 3,044 cruise passengers, respectively.

Other cities on the list included the Mediterranean province of Antalya, the third-largest city Izmir and the port in the popular summer hot spot, Marmaris.

Transport and Infrastructure Abdulkadir Uraloğlu said that Türkiye has become the center of cruise tourism recently, attributing it to the investments made over the years.

He drew attention to the fact that the number of passengers arriving in the country with cruise ships exceeded 1.5 million last year and said, “We continue our efforts with all our might to increase this number even more by the end of 2024.”

“In recent years, cruise tourism has also continued to grow along with investments made in Türkiye. We have also started to reap the fruits of the investments made in cruise tourism over many years. We anticipate reaching record numbers of passengers by the end of the year,” he noted.

“Especially in the summer season, we expect more cruise ships and passengers to come to our country’s ports,” he added.

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