Istanbul named a top 10 must-see destination for 2013

Istanbul has been ranked as one of the world’s top 10 tourist destinations for 2013 in a New York Times report issued this week (, underlining the city’s pledge to provide an incomparable backdrop for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The news follows last week’s launch of the Istanbul 2020 bid concept based on three pillars: technical excellence; an incomparable Games backdrop; and a profound legacy impact for Turkey and the Olympic Movement. Istanbul’s reputation as a “vibrant mega-city spanning two continents, more than three civilisations and eight millennia” (pg.1 of the Candidature File) was reinforced in the New York Times report, which describes some of Istanbul’s historic quarters as “going through a renaissance at warp speed”.

Istanbul 2020’s bid leader, Hasan Arat, commented on the news:

“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.”

Istanbul has already been named as the fifth most desirable tourist destination in the world and the third most visited city in Europe in MasterCard’s biannually published Global Destination Index. The number of visitors to Turkey rose in the first eight months of 2012 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.

Professor Uğur Erdener, International Olympic Committee (IOC) member and head of the NOC of Turkey, stated:

“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.”

Next year, 33 million visitors are expected to travel to Turkey as the country’s tourism industry continues to boom.

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Author: istanbul

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