On the heels of several positive announcement concerning new tourism infrastructure and expansion plans, Turkey has even more positive news: more American travelers visited Turkey from January, April 2009 than in the same period in 2008, according to the Turkish tourist office in New York.

Turkey – which recently saw the opening of the $1.4 billion Mardan Palace, the most expensive hotel in Europe – continues to weather the worldwide economic storm by showing signs of a strong tourism industry. Other indicators include Turkish Airlines’ intention to purchase over 100 planes in the coming few years.

Though the increase in U.S. visitation was slight – 106,903 in January-April 2009 versus 104,374 in January-April 2009, an increase of 2.4 percent – the increase comes at a time when almost every other major European tourism destination has seen declines in U.S. visitation. The numbers are also encouraging as Turkey headed into its main tourism season of June through September.

The year-over-year gain can be seen as all the more impressive due to the time periods being compared. Experts generally point to September/October 2008 – which of course lies between the dates being compared in these new tourism figures – as the months when the current recession came to the forefront and Americans markedly reigned in spending.

“We are very satisfied with the increase in U.S. travelers,” said Hasan Zongur, director for Turkish Culture and Tourism in New York. “Turkey has such an eclectic array of experiences to offer American travelers – culture, cuisine, beaches and, of course, thousands of years of history as one of the cradles of civilization. In light of the economy, we feel that these incremental gains are indicators of big things to come as Turkey continues to emerge as an attractive vacation option for American travelers.”