"A six to 10 percent rise is expected in the number of European tourists to visit Turkey this year. The number of tourists coming from Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States is expected to increase by 25 percent as well," said Oger, chairman of Oger Tours and member of the European Parliament (EP).
Turkey, aiming to catch up with France, Spain and Italy which are currently the most popular tourism destinations in Europe, welcomed nearly 18.5 million tourists in 2007.
The number of tourists visiting France each year is around 79.1 million. Spain welcomes 58.5 million tourists, while Italy hosts 41.1 million visitors every year, officials said.
This year is expected to be a good year for the Turkish tourism sector, Oger said. The number of German tourists planning to visit Turkey in 2008 will increase by six percent over last year's figures, representing three million German visitors, he added.
Oger also said that Turkey had all the necessary "ingredients" for tourism, but that the country had to effectively use this mix and "promote the product."Turkey is among the top 20 most popular tourism destinations in the world. The country is ranked 11th in terms of the number of tourists visiting the country and the 9th in terms of tourism revenues.