While foreign visitors to Turkey in 2017 reached a total of 1.4 billion lira in their retail goods purchases including garments, jewelry, carpets and cosmetics, the highest recorded single item spending was on a luxury watch that cost a Kuwaiti tourist TL 574,000 ($153,000), Daily Sabah reports.
Evaluating the value added tax (VAT) refund transactions carried out in Turkey (tax free), Global Blue Turkey General Manager Selim Sheyhun said foreign visitors coming to Turkey in 2017 spend a total of TL 1.4 billion.
Sheyhun stated that foreign visitors received a total VAT refund of TL 75 million by completing the tax-free transactions for the TL 716 million portion of their said purchases, recalling that in 2017, foreign purchases grew by 32 percent compared to 2016. He also added that the number of transactions remained the same as last year, while the average expenditure per shopping increased by 31 percent due to the increase in exchange rates and the inflation, compared to last year.
As much as 45 percent of the purchases came from Middle Eastern countries, and this 45 percent share also grew by 32 percent in parallel with the overall average. Sheyhun stressed that the Qatari people led the way with an average expenditure of TL 4,312 TL per shopping, adding that that their per capita expenditure showed an increase of 52 percent compared to 2016. The Global Blue Turkey general manager pointed out that last year there was a decrease of 25 percent in total tax-free sales growth of the Gastarbeiter (guest workers), while their average spending per shopping also showed an increase of 31 percent.
He said the most expensive purchase in Turkey in 2017 belongs to a Kuwaiti tourist, who spent TL 574,000 for a watch in a luxury store.
Sheyhun noted that the overall growth of 32 percent was greatly affected by luxury retail. Stressing that luxury retail showed a significant increase in 2017, Sheyhun said luxury retail received a share of 49 percent in 2016, while this share rose to 57 percent in 2017 in overall purchases. "If we look only at the growth in luxury retail sales, we can observe a 51 percent increase in 2017 and the growth rate of the other segment remained at 13 percent," Sheyhun said.