Tourism platform launched in Istanbul

A this week to tap the rich cultural potential of the largest city of Turkey so as to boost tourist arrivals and tourism revenue.

The platform shall be run with joint efforts by different commissions, non-governmental organizations, tourism representatives and groups.

“We have begun our work to improve the tourism potential of Istanbul, which attracts visitors from all over the world every year with its unique natural landscape, deep-rooted history and rich culture,” Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu said at the first meeting of the platform.

He was hopeful that the comprehensive efforts under the platform would make Istanbul a powerful city that can easily compete with rival destinations.

The tourist arrivals in Istanbul during the first nine months of this year increased by 12 percent year-on-year to 11.3 million, according to the latest figures of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Cumhur Guven Tasbasi, the coordinator of the platform, said the number of tourists to the city is expected to hit 14 million at the end of this year, but the revenue is not growing as expected.

Turkey’s tourism industry is rebounding after suffering from terror attacks, political uncertainty and bad relations with some European states over the past years.

According to tourism representatives, the average room price and average spending of tourists in Istanbul have been down and their staying periods are shorter than in other destinations like New York, Paris and Rome.

Kaya Demirer, chairman of the Turkish Restaurant and Entertainment Association, said his organization would work with the platform to transform the city into a gastronomy hub.