Syrian tourism to Turkey has skyrocketed by 97 percent over the past two months, following an agreement between the two countries to ease visa requirements in mutual visits. A total of 36,000 tourists arrived in Turkey from Syria in September, jumping to 66,000 in October and 65,000 in November.

In October and November of 2008, 66,568 Syrian tourists entered Turkey, but the figures totaled 131,663 in the same period of this year. Syria is 15th on the list of countries from which most tourists visit Turkey, but tourism agencies claim Syria may enter the top 10 if the upward trend continues.

In October of this year, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and his Syrian counterpart, Walid al-Moallem, signed a deal to remove visa requirements at the border between the two countries. Ministers from both sides together raised a symbolic barrier on the Turkish-Syrian border, marking the end of visa requirements.

According to data from the Culture and Tourism Ministry, the number of tourists coming to Turkey in October and November has increased by 8 percent compared to the same period last year, reaching 4,200,000. The number of foreign tourists visiting Turkey in the past 11 months has increased by 2.4 percent compared to the same period last year, reaching 25,245,000. Germany with 4 ,292,000 tourists, Russia with 2,640,000 tourists and Britain with 2,388,000 tourists are the countries which visit Turkey the most.
Source: Today’s Zaman