Istanbul 2020: Significant infrastructure investment will boost the Olympic bid
Sports Features Communications
November 25 — Among those keenly observing the official London 2012 Games debriefing last week with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was Istanbul's bid leader Hasan Arat and his team who are putting the final touches on their 2020 bid plan. Their takeaway note from the meeting is to show that Istanbul can match the technical capability of London 2012.
In motion already are infrastructure improvements to bring the country more fully into the 21st century, with many billions more in the coming few years — as promised to the Olympic committee should they award the Istanbul the Games.
"Istanbul is a bustling metropolis spanning two continents — but in 2020 we will still be able to offer athletes average travel times of 20 minutes or less," Hasan Arat promised. "These ambitious infrastructure developments show our country’s determination to deliver on all our promises to the Olympic family and match London’s organizational excellence. The strength of Turkey’s economy and the committed support from all levels of government mean we are better placed than ever to realize our vision."
According to Arat, the country recently finished a new metro train line that can move 70,000 passengers an hour, which removed not just thousands of personal vehicles from the downtown roads but also 1,227 minibuses and nearly 600 regular buses. Over just the past seven years, the country has spent $1.2 billion updating its transportation system.
In October 2013, a Haliç metro will be opened to carry an additional one million passengers a day across the Golden Horn. That same month, on Oct. 29, the country's Republic Day, a new Eurasia Tunnel also will open.
The next year, in 2014, Istanbul’s third airport with six runways will begin taking shape, expected to have the capacity to move 150 million passengers annually — making it, by the time the Games would begin in 2020, the world's largest airport. The year after that, in 2015, work will begin on a third road bridge to ease downtown traffic even further.
By 2020, the city's number of hotel rooms is expected to grow to 96,000, from 63,000 in 2012. The number of rooms already has grown from 26,000 since just 2004, and plans have been approved to add at least 18 new first-class hotels in just the next two years.
Istanbul is the fifth most desirable tourism destination on the planet and all the modifications will greatly serve the growing tourism market.
The city is bidding against Madrid and Tokyo and the IOC will choose their 2020 host city on September 7, 2013 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
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Laura Walden ()
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