Turkey’s not just for Christmas as year-round visitor numbers swell
The Silivri district just outside Istanbul will be taking off soon (literally) following the news that the district’s plans for a new airport, Turkey’s largest one to date, just got the green light. On the European side of the city, its overall capacity will be several times that of Istanbul’s existing Ataturk Airport which is close by.
On the holiday front, Turkey has been on everyone’s lips this year. Apart from being one of the fastest-growing summer and winter sun destinations within easy reach of the UK, the city of Istanbul has been celebrating its status as European Capital of Culture 2010.
Resorts like Bodrum, Akbuk, Didim, Marmaris and Antalya are quickly becoming household names and the country greeted nearly 30 million arrivals in 2009. Visitor figures are set to keep rising – there has been a 13% increase in the first four months of 2010 alone.
Across the city on Istanbul’s Asian side, the new Sabiha Gökçen airport has already established itself as home to many budget airlines that service the city, including EasyJet. Over 5 million passengers came in during the first half of this year and over 11 million more are anticipated before the end of 2011.
Turkey has benefitted from a very healthy growth spurt in the past couple of years. This year alone the country saw a 12% increase in visitors from the UK (from January to September) pushing up the total number of visitors in 2010 so far to 23 million – that’s according to official figures from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Many of the world’s leading hotel and shared ownership brands already have a presence in Turkey but the demand is such for holiday accommodation that some 2,270 extra hotel rooms are planned for construction in Istanbul alone. Big names like Crowne Plaza, Hilton, Radisson Blu and Shangri-La are all expanding their presence in the Istabul region and there are plans,too, for more buy-to-let apartments that will be springing up in areas around the new airport’s western districts including Büyükçekmece which borders Silivri, home to the new airport.