Recognition as the European Capital of Culture for 2010 is expected to see a 25 per cent increase in flights to Istanbul this year, as more travellers seek out the city’s unique and historic offerings.
Holidays in Turkey have increased in popularity throughout the recession, as more holidaymakers seek cheaper holidays outside of the eurozone. Tourism bosses are also planning around 500 events to celebrate the city’s culture and heritage to further drive the popularity of city breaks in Istanbul.
Istanbul has a long and diverse history that can be seen in the city’s mixed architecture and monuments, from its origins as the capital of the eastern Roman Empire in the 4th century AD through its pivotal role in the Byzantine and Ottoman empires to its current status as Turkey’s economic and financial centre.
This year’s events aim to celebrate Istanbul’s status and location as a bridge between eastern and western cultures, and will involve the renovation of popular attractions such as the Grand Bazaar shopping centre – the world’s largest dedicated shopping area that has long been a major draw for shopping trips in the Turkish capital.
With more cultural tourists heading to Istanbul and the increasing popularity of beach holidays on the Turquoise Coast boosting visitor numbers further, Turkey’s tourism industry hopes to welcome a record 10 million international visitors this year, further establishing the country as one of the most popular destination for UK travellers.