More than a destination… Istanbul

More than a destination… Istanbul

As a destination that holds an 8500-year long history and exceptional hospitality in its heart, Istanbul is growing as a destination more than ever. This metropolis, with a population of over 15 million people, conducts business with 200 different countries around the globe.

The city is blessed with a rich and intriguing culture and history. Istanbul has shaped its perspective as a tourism & MICE destination while preserving the city’s unique texture. Istanbul sets itself apart from other destinations with this unique texture and has been coming forward as a one-of-a-kind “meeting & event destination”.

Remember, no matter which road you chose to get to Istanbul, that road once either belonged to Alexander the Great, Napoleon or Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror.

What now? Safer & Stronger Istanbul

The health system in Turkey has enormous capacity and it was one of the countries in Europe who had taken measures for the pandemic as early as possible. Within this scope, the Safe Tourism Certification Program was developed under the leadership of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to manage all aspects of tourism adequately during this process.

In maintaining the health of our citizens who want to go on vacation safely, foreign visitors who plan to visit Turkey and for workers, exemplary world-class criteria are set for all the organizations from transportation to accommodations.

One of the most important points here is that all of these criteria (periodic inspections, QR verification, intensive sanitation at hotels, F&B facilities, tour & transfer vehicles, tourist protection and support insurance) are set by the contributions of the Ministries of Health, Transport, Interior and Foreign Affairs and in cooperation with all entrepreneurs of the sector.

Institutions and organizations that have a say in the tourism sector have shown solidarity by acting together in this process. Businesses wishing to receive the document can apply to authorized international accreditation organizations. As a result of the inspection on hygiene and health and the conformity assessment carried out by the organizations, reports are prepared and then the facility is entitled to receive the certificate.

All information on the facility is accessible through the QR code located on the certificate to inform the customers who visit these facilities that they are inspected regularly after the certificate is received.

Within the scope of this program which is carried out meticulously and intensively, we work day and night with all the stakeholders and with the direction of our government to restore the tourism industry in Istanbul and Turkey.

During this time, two new Covid-19 emergency hospitals were built in Istanbul, one of which is a field hospital built in Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport. Our recovery rate is 93% and we have a daily test capacity of 50,000.

The Business

Istanbul is as important for the Turkish economy as it is important for its tourism. Combining East and West, Asia and Europe, tradition and innovation in all aspects, Istanbul is the capital of culture and civilization.

With its economic and social wealth, we can say that the touristic attraction of Istanbul, which has been the centre of attention of travellers and traders for thousands of years, is unique in the world. As ICVB, we generally endeavour to help Istanbul and Turkey take their share from the industry as we are aware of the impact of developments in the meeting industry and its effect on the economy of the city through our operations.

In the past year, Turkey showed a 17 per cent increase in tourism revenues reaching $34.5 billion, the average per capita spending of tourists was $665. In 2019, the number of international visitors increased by 33 per cent in Istanbul, 14,906,663 foreign people visited Istanbul, and Istanbul ranked 1st in Turkey. German visitors made up the highest proportion of the total number of foreign visitors to Istanbul in 2019 with 7.45%. These visitors were followed by Iranians (6.19%) and Russians (4.84%), respectively.

Istanbul accounts for approximately 30 per cent of tourism revenue of Turkey and is the leading destination for Turkish tourism economy with its international brand value, unique infrastructure and big projects implemented in the last 15 years such as Istanbul Airport and Galataport that contribute to the Turkish economy.

Istanbul’s city centre is safe, exciting, and alive 24/7. These are the notions that will always make people prefer Istanbul as a meeting destination. There are 4 different congress/meeting areas in Istanbul; the Congress Valley, Anatolian Side, Golden Horn, and Airport Area.

We have 7 congress centres and 3 exhibition centres in our city, all of which have a simultaneous total event capacity of 30,000 maximum. The biggest advantage of those who want to have a meeting in Istanbul is that our city and congress centres have the infrastructure and the latest state-of-the-art technology to serve all kinds of events.

The History

Bringing Europe and Asia together, Istanbul is the historical and cultural capital of Turkey. For ages, the city of Istanbul hosted countless cultures and civilizations and acted as the capital of various ruling empires. Istanbul has a lot of unique qualities with its history, economic value, geographical location and culture. It is definitely a “must-see destination” for all kinds of travellers and a financial centre for global brands.

Once-proud Constantinople’s history is marvellous and memorable. Istanbul’s history can be divided into 3 parts: the Byzantine period, the Ottoman period and the current Republic period. Even now, every single street of Istanbul has some pieces of Ottoman and Byzantine Empires. The city is living and breathing with its thousands-of-years-long history. It is the capital of history and culture and the heart of civilizations.

Top 3 of Istanbul’s most valuable historical landmarks and touristic attractions: The Peaceful and Harmonious Beauty: the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque) The mosque was constructed between 1609 and 1616 during the rule of Sultan Ahmed I and it is one of the most precious pieces of Turkish – Islamic architecture. The mosque was the primary imperial mosque of The Ottoman Empire and has five main domes, six minarets and eight secondary domes. The hand-painted blue tiles of the mosque’s interior walls are well-known internationally and that’s why the mosque is also called the Blue Mosque.

Heart and Soul of the Ottoman Empire: Topkapı Palace

Topkapı Palace (constructed in 1478) was the main residence and administrative & educational headquarters of the Ottoman Empire for 400 years and had the honour of witnessing many intriguing and authentic moments of the emperorship.

The museum collection includes many precious pieces of Ottoman architecture and art, and also Ottoman clothing, weapons, armour, miniatures, religious relics, and illuminated manuscripts.

It is one of the world’s most extensive palace-museum complexes with its archive which has more than 300,000 documents.

The One and Only: Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia, one of the historical architectural wonders of the world, has a very important place in the art world with its architecture, grandness, size and functionality.

The Hagia Sophia, the biggest cathedral constructed (360 BC) by the East Roman Empire in Istanbul, was the place in which rulers were crowned. It was also the biggest operational cathedral in the city throughout the Byzantine period.

Following the conquest of Istanbul in 1453, Hagia Sophia was renovated into a mosque. This marvellous structure welcomes visitors from all around the world and is one of the most magnificent tourist attractions in Istanbul.

The Journey

Istanbul is Turkey’s cosmic 24-hour city. Let’s begin with The Bosphorus. This narrow, natural strait which brings Europe and Asia together, is what makes this city alive. Famous Istanbul ferries will allow you to experience the history of the city and enjoy the amazing views of the Bosphorus on board. Your journey within the city will include the unbelievably delicious Turkish cuisine.

As the centre of the country, Istanbul has world-famous restaurants, one-of-a-kind delights, and delicious street food. Turkish cuisine is largely the heritage of Ottoman cuisine and influenced those and other neighbouring cuisines, including those of Southeast Europe (Balkans), Central Europe, and Western Europe.

Is it time to shop yet? As a historic & modern global trade hub, the city provides a lot of options for shopping & fashion and easily combines “old and new” while blending traditional and modern concepts like the 500-year-old Grand Bazaar.

Bazaars and state-of-the-art shopping malls.

Feeling artsy? Get ready to be lost in Istanbul’s art world’s charm. Istanbul has an 8500-year-old history, and the city is filled with traditional art pieces. However, the city is also the centre of modern arts. As a nonstop event destination, Istanbul’s event schedule and event venues are always alive and kicking.

An immeasurable number of diverse events are being organized within the city 24/7 and it is definitely not easy to keep up with them. Feeling like exploring locally popular streets and areas of the city? You’re lucky, Istanbul is an extensive city filled with many interesting neighbourhoods and areas which has many hidden but magnificent gems.

Before ending your journey, one last reminder… Since Constantine’s gladiators, Istanbul has always been a city of sports and fandom. The city lives and breathes with different types of sports and every single Istanbulite is passionate about at least one of them.

Without a doubt, the most attracted branch of sport in Istanbul is soccer. The city also hosted the most unforgettable games of Champions League and Super Cup finals. Also, every year, Istanbul hosts one or more European or global sports organization such as Final Four, World Cup or Formula 1 Championship (which will be held on 13-15 November 2020).

In addition, two very special sports events are held in Istanbul every year: Cross-Continental Swimming Race and the Istanbul (Eurasia) Marathon.

Bonus: Cats of Istanbul

Istanbul’s royalty feels free to roam the streets of the city as they like. They live in the city with us. You can find them relaxing on the chair of a bohemian café in Cihangir, wandering in the courtyard of the Blue Mosque, sleeping on the doorstep of an apartment in Moda or playing with each other wherever they like.

They are in every corner and people of Istanbul take care of them by putting out water and food. There isn’t a single Istanbul scene without them in it. When you’re here, feel free to feed and pet them as much as you like…

About ICVB

The Istanbul Convention & Visitors Bureau – ICVB is a non-profit destination marketing organization working as a branch of Tourism Development & Education Foundation – TUGEV.

ICVB’s main goal is to represent Istanbul around the world and to seek international associations and corporations planning to hold high-profile international congresses and events. ICVB members include the leading corporations and associations involved in tourism and MICE industries such as hotels, conference and exhibition centres, DMCs & PCOs, airlines and other supplier companies.

The ICVB, working in close collaboration with the Turkish Ministry of Culture & Tourism, the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce and Turkish Airlines; designs and implements special events and other marketing strategies to promote Istanbul as a congress and event destination.

ICVB is also an active member of international meetings industry organizations such as the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA), European Cities Marketing (ECM), Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and, lastly UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism.

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