Istanbul – this year set to be the hottest yet

Istanbul, European Capital of Culture 2010, continues its rise to tourism superstardom in 2011. BTN takes a look at why it has become of one of the world’s great city break destinations.

The Istanbul Convention & Visitors Bureau has started the new year by appointing Elif Balci Fisunoglu as its new General Manager. She moves from her previous role as Director of Sales & Marketing of the ICVB, where she has worked since 2001.

ICVB was set up in 1997 under the umbrella of the Tourism Development & Education Foundation-TUGEV. A non-profit destination marketing organization, ICVB represents Istanbul globally and is the leading resource for international associations and corporations seeking to hold events in Istanbul.

(The Maiden’s Tower - one of Istanbul’s most popular sites)

The bureau has played a key role in the capital’s rapid rise in popularity as a both a business and a leisure destination.

Istanbul has grown into a high-profile international congresses and events destination, ranking among the world’s most popular conference destinations according to ICCA statistics.

(Sn Hamdi Topcu, Chairman, Turkish Airlines picks up “Europe’s Leading Airline Business Class” at 2010 World Travel Awards. Pictured with Kevin Taylor, Group Vice President, World Travel Awards)

Turkish Airlines has played a pivotal role in the city’s emergence as a business hub. This was reflected at the 2010 World Travel Awards when the national carrier was voted “Europe’s Leading Airline Business Class”, following a year in which it grew market share and continued to upgrade its fleet despite a backdrop of one of the harshest downturns in aviation history.

Meanwhile international leisure tourism arrivals continue to show steady year-on-year growth as it has established itself as one of the world’s most exciting cities – oozing centuries old appeal as a meeting place of continents and cultures.

(Istanbul - European City of Culture 2010)

Istanbul’s current renaissance was reflected in it being chosen as the 2010 European Capital of Culture, and in the same year it was also voted “Europe’s Leading Destination” by the World Travel Awards.

As well as the many exquisite Ottoman mosques, the city is buzzing with happening restaurants, bars, galleries and clubs, and sense of energy and innovation not seen since the days of Süleyman the Magnificent.

For the lowdown on what’s hot, City.Mobi offers the best mobile guide to the capital. Istanbul.Mobi is the latest in this illustrious line up of city guides, with over 800 cities in 200 countries listed. Each is developed by the City.Mobi team to combine into a single global travel directory.

(Visit Istanbul.Mobi for everything to do in the capital)

The guide offers click to call functionality – which means no scribbling down telephone numbers. Most entries are also linked to websites where users can quickly access more detailed information if needed.

Other key features include information on accommodation, restaurants, attractions, entertainment, nightlife, shopping, and transport. City.Mobi guides include user reviews and traveller utilities such as a translation guide, currency converter, news and local weather guide.

The capital’s most famous place to stay, Hôtel Les Ottomans, reflects the grandeur of the Ottomans whilst offering today’s luxury and comfort.

Occupying the Muhsinzade Mehmet Pasha Mansion, the hotel is located at the most magnificent section of the Bosphorus, and its lavish architecture and gardens are considered some of the finest examples of the Ottoman period. The hotel’s splendour was acknowledged at the 2010 World Travel Awards when it was voted “World’s Leading All Suite Hotel & Spa” and “Europe’s Leading Boutique Hotel”.

(Hôtel Les Ottomans holds an unrivallaed position on the banks of the Bosphorus)

Hôtel Les Ottomans will be hoping to repeat the success at the World Travel Awards 2011 European Ceremony, which is being hosted in Turkey for the second year running.

In September, Cornelia Diamond Golf Resort & Spa will step up to host the prestigious event, dubbed by the media as “The Oscars of the Travel Industry”. The luxury resort is located in Antalya, next to the beautiful beach of Iskele Mevkii.