Istanbul 2020: Turkish tourism market a real magnet for the bid
LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications
October 3 – The Istanbul 2020 bid reports stellar tourism numbers for the first eight months of 2012 counting 22 million foreign visitors to the country which tops last year’s numbers by over half a million.
Despite the global recession people are traveling and Istanbul and Turkey both have strong ratings to bring in tourists.
Hasan Arat, head of the Istanbul bid said, “These figures highlight that more and more tourists are being attracted to Turkey’s vibrant culture, rich history, hospitable people and spectacular location which bridges Europe and Asia.
“Turkey’s tourist infrastructure has grown significantly, increasing by 67 per cent in the last ten years. By 2015, Turkey's hotels will offer 370,000 rooms for a wide variety of budgets – and this diversity of hotel accommodation is replicated in Istanbul. This is one of the great strengths of our bid, which will be demonstrated in our candidature file next year.”
To further drive the point home the Turkish Ministry of Tourism and Culture confirmed Turkey as one of the top ten most visited countries in the world. This supports the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index survey findings that Istanbul is the fifth most visited destination on the globe with over 11 million foreign visitors expected this year.
Also according to the same survey Istanbul ranks third in Europe only behind London and Paris showing a 14.7% growth in visitors since the same time last year.
And the momentum is expected to rise as 33 million visitors are projected for Turkey next year.
Ugur Erdener, head of the Turkish NOC and International Olympic Committee (IOC) member, said, “This year Turkey is hosting several prestigious international sports events which, together with the increase in international visitors, contribute to the real momentum behind Turkey’s bid to host its first ever Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.
“However, we recognise there is a significant amount of work still to do, and our team of national and international experts is focussed on delivering a unique and innovative blueprint for the Games with our Candidature File, which will be submitted to the IOC Executive Board early in 2013.”
The bid is working closely with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to raise the numbers and already through the end of the year there are a number of high profile events on the calendar: the Turkish Airlines World Golf Finals 9-12 October, the Intercontinental Istanbul Eurasia Marathon 11 November, and the 11th FINA World Swimming Championships 12-16 December.
Istanbul is bidding against Madrid and Tokyo to host the 2020 summer Games and the final vote will take place on September 7th of next year at the IOC session in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
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Laura Walden ()
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