Many of Istanbul’s assets as a potential host of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games are being shown to a global audience this week as the city features prominently in the latest James Bond movie, Skyfall, which was premiered in London earlier this week.
Barbara Broccoli, the James Bond film producer, has claimed that Istanbul was Ian Fleming’s favourite city. This is the third James Bond film, succeeding From Russia With Love and The World Is Not Enough, that has been set against the city’s iconic backdrop – allowing Istanbul’s historic Ottoman architecture and the modern, sophisticated influence of the Turkish Republic a chance to shine once again on the stage of international film. Istanbul’s iconic landmarks such as the Blue Mosque, The Grand Bazaar and Eminönü Square all feature in the film
Istanbul 2020’s bid leader, Hasan Arat, commented on what this means for the city’s Olympic bid campaign: “The film industry has always been enchanted with Istanbul, but a recent surge in blockbuster films being set here is evidence that Istanbul is an iconic global city – something which we hope to display to the Olympic family in the forthcoming months. Istanbul is the perfect backdrop for James Bond films – which mix tradition and charm with state-of-the art innovation and technology.
“These Bond films perfectly reflect the duality of Istanbul – it would be the only city to host an Olympic Games situated in two continents; where East truly meets West; where historic culture and traditional customs meet a thriving, modern economic and commercial hub. Istanbul’s majestic visual backdrop, spanning millennia, cultures and continents, will create a defining experience for athletes and captivating images for a global audience.”
Daniel Craig, star of Skyfall, recently said that Istanbul is “an incredible backdrop to any movie” adding impetus to research carried out by VisitBritain and other tourist associations that show film locations can be a major draw for overseas tourists. Skyfall will no doubt add to the thriving annual tourist influx to Istanbul, which is already the fifth most desirable tourist destination in the world.
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