Istanbul 2020 Boosted by European Best Destination Award

By iSportconnect | April 5, 2013

Istanbul 2020 has been boosted by the news that the city has been voted European Best Destination 2013 by European Consumers Choice.

The news comes a week after Sir Craig Reedie, Chairman of the IOC Evaluation Commission, praised the “extraordinary” city.

Almost one million people visited the city this quarter, a 23.8% increase from last year and MaterCard Global Destination Cities Index survey ranked Istanbul as the fifth most visited city in the world last year.

The European Best Destination 2013 award organisers wrote of Istanbul: “The only city in the world to straddle two continents, Turkey’s fabled city of Istanbul at the historic crossroads between East and West is the perfect choice for a refreshing, exciting and cultural city break with a difference.”

Chairman of Istanbul 2020, Hasan Arat, commented on the award: “This prestigious award for Istanbul confirms the city’s rapidly growing popularity for foreign visitors.

“People want to come to Istanbul and we love to host them here. Istanbul’s appeal comes from its vibrant culture, fascinating history and spectacular location bridging East and West.

“These figures show us that people from all over the world want Istanbul to ‘Bridge Together’ in 2020.”

Arat commented further on the record number of visitors to Istanbul: “The Turkish people’s thirst for sport and Istanbul’s status as a trusted host of international sporting events has, no doubt, contributed to the large numbers visiting the city. 83% of Istanbul’s population, 11 million people, want the Olympic Games to come to Turkey for the very first time.

“But this award, combined with the vast number of visitors to Istanbul every year, shows us that, importantly, the rest of the world is also excited to have an Olympic Games set against the iconic backdrop of Istanbul in 2020”.

The award was created in 2010 to allow travelers to vote on their favourite destinations in Europe, with a choice from 20 iconic cities.

Of Istanbul’s record 838,201 visitors so far in 2013, 10 percent came from Germany, 6 percent from Russia and 4 percent each from the UK, U.S. and France.

The number of visitors to Istanbul totalled 9.5 million in 2012; it is expected that this figure will exceed 10 million in 2013.