POSTED: January 15th 2013

Istanbul 2020: Olympic bid boosted as one of the top ten travel destinations worldwide

The Kiz Kulesi known as the Maiden's Tower dates back to the Byzantine period / Istanbul 2020
The Kiz Kulesi known as the Maiden's Tower dates back to the Byzantine period / Istanbul 2020

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

January 15 – Bid city Istanbul has been named one of the top 10 destinations for 2013 according to a New York Times report that was published this week giving a boost to the city’s tourism pull.

Tourism is a strong and flourishing industry in Turkey and over 33 million visitors are expected to make their way to the country next year.

MasterCard’s biannually published Global Destination Index named Istanbul as the fifth most desirable tourist destination in the world and the third most visited city in Europe.

In the first eight months of 2012 the number of visitors rose to 22 million – an increase of over half a million visitors on the same period in 2012, and a 200% rise over the last decade.

Bid leader and real estate developer, Hasan Arat, declared he is not taken by surprise, “I am thrilled, but not surprised, that the New York Times has named Istanbul as a top 10 destination.

“The 2020 Games in Istanbul would be at the centre of a physical and symbolic bridge between East and West, cultures and continents.

“The city is a world-renowned cultural hub and has proven it is ready to welcome the world. Istanbul will be an exciting place for the Olympic family as the older areas of the city continue to be revitalised by the youthful population and buzzing contemporary arts scene.”

The 2020 bids were officially launched last week and the Turkish bid promises three key ingredients to their Games proposal: technical excellence; an incomparable Games backdrop; and a profound legacy impact for Turkey and the Olympic Movement.

The city enjoys a strong tourism attraction spanning two continents as well as great connections around the country to a bevy of beach and golf destinations for side trips to the Games. Just the cultural element alone boasts three civilizations and eight millennia according to the candidature file.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) member and head of the NOC of Turkey, Professor U─čur Erdener, noted, “Istanbul would make an inspiring host city for the Games in 2020 because it is a truly unique city.

“It has a rich history and a sense of tradition which fuses harmoniously with a vibrant culture and modernity. That is what I think is so appealing for tourists. Its role as a melting pot of languages, religions and races is another reason for the city’s popularity, allowing visitors a chance to sample an enticing blend of cultures in one cosmopolitan city.”

Istanbul is bidding against two other strong contenders, Madrid and Tokyo, who both have strong tourism cards to play. The IOC will make their final choice of host city for the 2020 Games on September 7th at the Buenos Aires session.

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Keywords · Istanbul 2020 · Hasan Arat · Ugur Erdener · tourism · olympic bidding

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