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Tourists in Turkey spent $5.1 billion on food last year TOURISM

Istanbul- Last year tourists spent more than 5 billion dollars on food and beverages in Turkey, according to information gathered from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat).

According to the report published by Daily Sabah, TurkStat revealed that tourist expenditures totaled $22.1 billion, of which about $3.6 billion was spent on package tours. Food and beverages took the largest percent of personal expenditures with $5.1 billion, followed by $3.3 billion on international transportation and $2.5 billion spent on accommodation. 

Turkish sweets-baklava

Additionally, tourists spent $1.8 billion on domestic transportation, $715 million on healthcare, $295 million on sports, education and culture and $55 million on tour services. Visitors didn't leave the country empty handed; they also spent $87 million on carpets and rugs.

Sampling the cuisine is certainly a draw to many "foodie travelers," who come to Turkey to try local favorites such as the Iskender kebab, cig kofte and of course, baklava. Başak Turkoglu, Turkey's Ambassador to Malaysia told Anadolu Agency about how she sees food as a way to boost ties between countries, adding that many Malaysian tourists had fallen in love with Turkish food during their visits.

"There is a big market. We need restaurants that offer an elegant presentation of food and good quality Ottoman and traditional Turkish cuisines," said Turkoglu.

While Turkey's tourism revenue fell significantly in 2016, restaurant owners can help to restore that number one bite at a time.