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The Introduction And History Of Istanbul Tourism Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Tourism
Wordcount: 2006 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Istanbul is the largest city of Turkey. It is the financial capital of Turkey, making it the busiest city in Turkey. It is located in the northwestern side of Turkey. In the Marmara region having a total area of 5,343 square kilometers (2,063 sq mi). The Sea of Marmara is connected to the Black Sea by the Bosphorus strait, which divides Istanbul into European that is the Thracian side, which is the economic and historic side, and Antolian side that is the Asian side. It has a population of 13.5 million due to which it is listed in one of the largest cities in the world for population in city limits. In the year 2008 in the terms of gross domestic product Istanbul was ranked 34th because of its GDP being US$182 Billion. 27 percent of Turkeys GDP is contributed by Istanbul. Two- fifths of the Turkish economy of the nations tax revenue, is contributed by Istanbul.

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The university of California, Berkley in the year 2008, September said that Istanbul is the ‘ Cultural capital of Europe”. In the year 2010, The New York Times rated Istanbul on number 19th for the list of ‘The 31 places to go in 2010’. In the year 2010 around 7 million foreign tourists visited Istanbul, which made it world’s tenth- most visited city in the world. Istanbul itself has 17 palaces, 49 churches and 64 mosques, which makes it the most ideal place for cultural tourism. Istanbul is the city of history, culture and diversity. It is now being considered even as a place for educational tourism, as it has one of the world’s oldest universities. The administrative capital of Turkey has always been Istanbul. The world’s busiest waterway is Bosphorous, which is in Istanbul. It is located between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. Sarayburnu had found Istanbul around 600 BC. Istanbul is a muslim dominated country. After the end of Ottoman Empire this city has become for cosmopolitan. After muslims this city is dominated by orthodox Christians. This city has always been considered as the cultural hub. In the 19th century it was considered the artistic center for regional purposes. Istanbul has a lot of shopping centers from the modern period as well as the historic period. The city has a Mediterranean climate. The northern part of the city has a lot of humidity due to the water bodies and the sea. Fog is a common site in the city. Winters are very cold. During winters black sea faces lake effect snow.Exhibition conducted in Tate Modern in the city of London on ‘Global Cities’ on 27th August 2007 had Istanbul featured along with London, Cairo, Shanghai and Los Angeles. In which it was compared to all these cities for their size, speed, form density and diversity. The slogan that the Tourism board of Turkey uses to promote Istanbul is also “Historically Dynamic”. Making it the most apt city for foreigners to feel close to the culture and history.


In the entire world, cultural and historical heritage and tourism have had many links throughout. According to the economic justification given by people tourism is a tool used for the preservation of heritages, artifacts and the folk life of the destination (Hall, 1994). This report summarizes and focuses on the kind of tourism in Istanbul. It is known for its cultural tourism, since the government of Turkey also promotes Istanbul as the most historically sound city.


John Cleave in the year 2008 described Istanbul as the city of two continents. The mayor of Istanbul Kadir Topbas explains that Istanbul is a country not a city. In the year 1980 Istanbul did not even have enough electricity supply for the famous skyline. Few years back Istanbul had midnight curfews and even the supply of Turkish coffee had gone down. ” Today Istanbul is not just an immigrant city, it is much more than that,” says Murat Guvenc, city planner and curator of Istanbul 1910- 2012. Kirsten Stamn in his online blog carry on in the year 2011 describes that, when some one thinks of Istanbul, people only think of the mosques, the bazaars and the architecture. But he discloses a fact that Turks love jazz. The biggest Jazz Festival every year is held in Istanbul. It is Istanbul where 15 million people come and visit the Grand Bazaar every year (Appleton. K, 2012). Istanbul has always had an East meets west history, due to the Bosphorous strait. The main selling point of Istanbul has always been bridge between Asia and Europe. According to a survey done in April 2012 by PortTurkey.com the nationalities that visit this city the most re Germans. They took the top spot with 10.4 percent. According to Istanbul’s Culture and Tourism Director Ahmet Emre Bilgili, Istanbul is a city, which has a very old history, culture and art, which a lot of people want to experience. It has a very diversified tourism, which makes it the most visited city by the tourists.



Tourism in Turkey mainly focuses on the various historical sites that the city has. In 2011 Istanbul’s mainly attracted form of tourism was for culture, spa and health care, which helped it rank the 6th most popular tourist destination in the world. Istanbul just does not have vacationers tourist but even visiting professional literates, for its cultural grounds on literature. Istanbul even caters to the leisure travellers. The shopaholics can have a feast in this city, as Cevahir mall is the biggest mall in Europe and the seventh largest shopping center in the world. Peter Sommer describes that while describing Istanbul it is very hard for people not to speak in superlatives. Istanbul has one of the most finest architectural and art around the world. Istanbul is Turkeys commercial hub, which is also the social, and art capital. In the year 1970 the population of this city was 3 million, which has grown to around 11 million today. The head of Cultural and Social Affairs Department, Numan Guzey shares that Istanbul has been the capital for three empires in the past that is Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman, which makes it a center of history and culture having a history that is 3,000 years old. The mission statement of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s Directorate of Tourism is that it is the city that has a lot of vibrancy, since a lot of cultures here have crossed and encountered in the centuries that have passed by. Their mission is to promote Istanbul more as a cultural destination known for its heritage making it the most visited and vibrant tourist destinations in the world.


In the year 2012 the number of tourists that visited Istanbul increased at a very large scale. Istanbul Culture and Tourism Directorate released the figures of tourists visiting the city has increased by 18 percent compared to the year 2011. Around 4.2 million tourists visited Istanbul. Around 4 million tourists visited Istanbul by plane and the rest by ferries or ships. Wizard Istanbul is a travel guide developed by the Ministry of Culture and tourism is an online website which is available 24 hours to help the foreign tourists. Istanbul had a whooping number of 4,231,000 tourists. Around 26.8 percent of the tourists that entered Turkey visited Istanbul. 4,052,908 tourists arrived by plane and the rest 178,511 came by sea. The majority of tourists who visited Istanbul were from Germany, which was then followed by Russia, America, France, England and Iran. This year there was a decline in the tourists form Israel. Since the year 2007 Spaniards have visited Istanbul a lot more frequently. Istanbul has made Turkey the top 10 biggest revenue generators in the world due to tourism.

Spending Capacity

The Turkish Lira was not stable for quiet some years; euros and dollars are a common currency in most of the hotels and tour operators. Earlier it was a bargain destination, it still has a god value for money when it comes to travelling. A room for two people in three star hotels would cost around $80 per night in Sultanahmet. A decent meal would cost around TL20 to TL25. Public transportation is very cheap and efficient and some of the city’s historical places people can visit for free. If the non-residents buy any expensive item from Istanbul they can participate in the national Global Refund. This means that at the time of departure the tourist can present the refund receipt at the airport tax return. This way the tourists get their tax back.


Tourists, who generally visit Istanbul, prefer staying there for 5 to 6 days. Tourists, which travel to Istanbul even travel to Cappadocia, which is not very far from Istanbul. The cultural tourists travel for 10 days since they visit the blue mosque.


Specific type of Tourist

In the year 2004, the maximum people who visited Istanbul were travelling only for cultural perspective. Hence Istanbul had a very high amount of cultural tourism. In more recent years the cultural tourism in this city has increased to 30 percent. 40 percent of the tourists visit the museums and the mosques. The major target markets for Istanbul are cultural tourists. The total amount of visitors every year to the Istanbul museum is 3,932,852 (Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 2008). Lot of tourists visit this city for the festivals as well. After the year 2000 the government has taken important steps to celebrate festivals publically, so that not only the residents can take part but also the tourists can be a part of it. The European Union supports the cultural tourism, making this city more convenient for the culturally inclined tourists.

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The cultural tourists are generally rich and highly educated. The cultural tourists are generally known as upper level tourists. Cultural tourists who travel to Istanbul are dived into two groups according to the attractions they visit. The first groups of attractions are monuments, museums. Theme parks, architectural and sculptures. The second group of attractions is music and dance, events, theatre language, festivals.


Turkey has become the 15th greatest economy of the world in the year 2012. Having a GDP of $729 billion. Istanbul has always been the economic center for Turkey, contributing a GDP of $174 billion. It generates 22 percent of the GDP just through tourism and 40 percent is generated through the travel and tourism tax. Istanbul has made carved a niche for itself and is now listed in the ‘Global cities of the world’. Due to the high GDP in Istanbul, it has started creating more jobs, further improving the country’s balance overall.


Travelling is something that everyone enjoys. Travelling makes life interesting, and can bring a new view of living life. The purpose of everyone’s travelling can be different like some people travel for rich culture, history and some to meet and come across interesting people. A lot of people travel and yet they would not be able to travel the whole world, as they might not have the correct resources. Travelling around the world gives people a better understanding of what is going around in the different parts of the world, and how different is every countries culture and heritage. Traveling even changes a person’s perspective towards life. Travelling broadens a person’s mind and soul. In basic words it has always been a human desire to travel to different places. Travelling changes a person inside out. Travel for people will always be an invaluable asset. Most of the common reasons why people travel is to try out new things. Different places have different things to see and try, and this is the motivation which most of the people have.



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