Turkey’s tourism industry could generate $15 billion (TL 110 billion) by the end of 2020, a senior industry representative said, as the sector slowly recovers from the coronavirus pandemic with a rising number of international arrivals.

Birol Akman, chairman of the Anatolian Tourism Operators Association and board member of the Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA), told Anadolu Agency (AA) Sunday that the country could no longer reach its pre-pandemic goal of receiving 60 million tourists this year.

Yet, he added that the strict implementation of social distancing and other safety measures could help the tourism sector recover from the crisis faster.

Akman noted that the industry could see earnings as high as $15 billion by the end of the year if tourists continue to arrive at this level and the pandemic remains under control with no second wave.

According to official figures released last week, Turkey’s most popular tourist destination Antalya welcomed more than 1 million tourists between Jan. 1 and Aug. 19 from 31 countries. While nearly 300,000 Ukrainians preferred the city for their holiday, 281,000 tourists came from Russia, followed by 221,000 Germans and 85,000 British tourists.

While the sector enjoys a rising number of tourists, the figures are nowhere close to that of the previous year. In 2019, tourism revenues hit $34.52 billion and nearly 52 million visitors arrived in the country, a rise of 13.7% from 2018. The Mediterranean bresort city Antalya alone received more than 15 million visitors from 193 countries, setting an all-time tourism record.

However, Akman said he is hopeful that the tourism sector will recover thanks to the country’s success in both keeping the pandemic under control and its efforts to offer a safe tourism experience to visitors.