Istanbul 2020: Turkish Tourism Ministry wins European recognition
LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications
October 9 – The Istanbul 2020 bid got another boost from its tourism factor as the Turkish Ministry of Culture & Tourism earned the title 'Europe's Leading Tourist Board' at the World Travel Awards 2012.
Turkey is a very strong tourism destination and is rapidly developing its market. Currently it ranks 6th for foreign arrivals with a total of 31.4 million foreign visitors in 2011 (2.58 million from the UK) and is experiencing a substantial 50% increase in these figures over the last five years.
The country has a lot to offer with the multicultural influences of Europe and Asia ranging from great cuisine, good weather, super beaches and two Wonders of the Ancient World, 11 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 352 Blue Flag beaches and 19 Blue Flag Marinas, and 20 world-class golf courses, to name just a few.
"We are thrilled to have won this prestigious travel award during a year which has seen a number of awards for Turkey and unprecedented press coverage,” said Turkey's Minister for Culture & Tourism.
“It is also a year in which Istanbul is the European Capital of Sport and when the city became one of three shortlisted cities for the 2020 Olympics."
On top of the board’s recognition, a number of hotels also earned awards: Europe’s Leading Luxury Hotel (Mardan Palace, Antalya), Europe’s Leading Luxury Resort (Cornelia Diamond Golf Resort & Spa, Belek) and Europe’s Leading New Luxury Hotel (Angel’s Peninsula, Marmaris).
Bid city Istanbul was voted 'Destination of the Year' by readers of Food and Travel magazine and Belek on the Mediterranean coast was named ‘Best Golf Destination’ at the Golf Journal Travel Awards.
TripAdvisor 2012 Choice Destination Awards ranked Istanbul 4th best destination in Europe and 7th best destination in the world, and Oludeniz on Turkey's Mediterranean coast and Icmeler on its Aegean were ranked 14th and 24th, respectively, in the Top 25 Beach Destinations in the World list.
Istanbul is bidding against Madrid and Tokyo to host the 2020 Olympic Games. The final decision will be voted on September 7th of next year at the Buenos Aires IOC session.
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