Tourism leaders gather in Istanbul for UNWTO seminar

Tourism leaders gather in Istanbul for UNWTO seminar

Tourism leaders from around the world have gathered in Istanbul for the Global Summit on City Tourism: Catalysing economic development and social progress.

The summit has been organised by United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) in collaboration with ministry of culture and tourism of Turkey and The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey.

On November 15th, the summit started at Haliç Congress Center with the opening speeches by Turkish culture and tourism minister Ertuğrul Günay, Istanbul mayor Kadir Topbaş, and TOBB president Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu.

UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai also delivered a keynote speech, alongside secretary general of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme Joan Clos.

Günay, pointing out the location of the summit in Istanbul, said Turkey’s growth in tourism and the importance of the city as a destination are well understand by the world.

With Izmir and Antalya also growing in importance, alongside Istanbul, Turkey’s cities are increasingly playing host to international events, he explained.

“Development of cities is an important objective of tourism.

“In this perspective, we are working to develop new international destinations to market together with Istanbul,” added Günay.

Topbaş added that Istanbul now offers 150,000 hospitality beds each night, with 38,000 presently under construction.

During his speech UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai stated: “Istanbul is one of the most beautiful examples of city tourism.”

He also confirmed the UNWTO would soon publish a report on 21 tourism cities.

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