Istanbul 2020: Bid city hosts UN World Tourism Organization Global Summit
LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications
November 15 – The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) is holding its Global Summit in the bid city gathering more than 1200 delegates from 155 countries allowing an excellent opportunity for Istanbul to show off its touristic qualities.
There are six associate members attending as well as over 400 affiliate members representing private businesses, educational institutions, tourism associations, and local tourism authorities participating at the meeting being held at the Haliç Congress Centre on the banks of the Golden Horn.
Some of the attendees included Mayor of Istanbul, Kadir Topbaş; the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Ertuğrul Günay; and UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai.
The leader of the bid, Hasan Arat, was also presenting at the Global Summit in his capacity as Vice President of the TOBB Tourism Assembly and Vice Chairman of the UNWTO Affiliate Members.
Arat said, “Tourism figures continue to illustrate that more and more people are being attracted to Turkey every year. Turkey will welcome a record 33 million visitors this year – a 200% increase over the last decade.
“The huge investment that has already been made into Turkey’s tourism infrastructure demonstrates the country’s desire to deliver the best possible visitor experience.
“As a result, Istanbul is better placed now than it has ever been to deal with the demands placed on a city by hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
Over the last 7 years Istanbul has hosted more than 40 cultural, sporting, and tourism events. This year alone the city held theIAAF World Indoor Championships, the WTA Championships and Intercontinental Istanbul Eurasia Marathon.
IOC member and head of the Turkish NOC, Uğur Erdener, said, “As a city which has brought together people of different nationalities and cultures throughout its fascinating history, it is fitting that this summit, which involves the sharing and exchanging of knowledge and ideas, is held in Istanbul – the city where East meets West.
"Istanbul has now emerged as a global capital due to its central gateway location, diverse cultural attractions and world-class facilities.
"This has made the city an attractive destination for the world’s top international business and sporting events.”
Coming up next is the 11th FINA World Swimming Championships set to be held in the Sinan Erdem Dome December 12-16. This venue is slated to host basketball according to the bid plan to stage the Games.
Istanbul is bidding against Madrid and Tokyo for the 2020 summer Olympics.
The IOC will vote for their host city on September 7, 2013 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
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Laura Walden ()
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