Istanbul Becomes a Star in World Congress Tourism

Image Istanbul, which ranked seventh in world congress tourism last year and sixth in Europe, has become an international convention destination, according to Murat Yalçıntaş, chairman of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, or ICOC. "By strengthening its position among the top 10 cities in world convention tourism, Istanbul should target to enter the top five in the next five years," said Yalçıntaş, who has also been the chairman of the Istanbul Convention and Visitors Bureau, or ICVB, since March 2006.

Istanbul, which was home to a total of 109 international congresses last year, moved ahead of London, Lisbon, Amsterdam and Sidney, according to a recent report published by the International Congress and Convention Association, or ICCA, Yalçıntaş said.

Recalling that Istanbul was only able to enter the list in the 40th spot holding nearly 20 congresses in 2000, Yalçıntaş said, “Raising the number of congresses rapidly over the last 10 years, the city entered the top 10 across the world, which shows an important success.”

The number of congresses held in Istanbul, which was 57 in 2005, ranking 24th in world congress tourism, increased to 80 in 2009 and totaled 109 last year. According to the ICCA report, Vienna ranked first with a total of 154 congresses, followed by Barcelona and Paris, with 148 and 147 respectively.

Studies of agencies that hold congresses and national unions have a great contribution in this success, as well the ICVB, he said. “On the other hand, congress centers that meet international standards and offer high-quality hotels and services also had a big role in this success.”

"Congress tourism is one of the fields that we should focus on to diversify the tourism in Turkey," Yalçıntaş said. "To this end, a campaign started by the ICVB in 2007 to bring more international congresses and meetings to the city has had a great impact. Within the scope of this congress tourism program, the ICVB cooperated with national unions and academics. I believe that studies in congress tourism will gain more strength in the upcoming years."

Noting that Istanbul, with the 2010 European Capital of Culture experience, passed a successful year in tourism, Yalçıntaş said, "Thanks to this success, many big organizations including AIDS and cardiology congresses held with the participation of nearly 25,000 delegates, plan to come to Istanbul."

In addition to the successful position of Istanbul, the southern province of Antalya ranked 79th with a total of 23 congresses last year, while the western province of İzmir ranked 284th, holding six international congresses.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News

Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07