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Istanbul attracts world’s 7th highest number of international travellers

Posted on 16 July 2014

Istanbul is among the 10 most popular cities in the world, according to Mastercard’s 2014 Global Destination Cities Index, which ranks the world’s most travelled cities by international overnight visitors.

The iconic Turkish city came seventh out of 132 cities assessed in the Index, with an estimated 11.6 million visitors during 2014, a 17.5 per cent rise on 2013. It was only one place behind New York and came ahead of Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Barcelona and Rome. Revenue from tourism is expected to reach $9.38 billion in Istanbul this year.

Looking only at Europe, Istanbul moves up to third place, behind only Paris and London, the latter ranked top overall. This result is a vote of confidence for investors interested in property in Istanbul.

According to the Index, Istanbul’s top five feeder cities are all in Europe, namely London, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Munich, with each showing double digit growth in visitor numbers to Istanbul. However, 55 per cent of overall visitors to Istanbul come from outside of the European region.

The Mastercard is a useful barometer of a city’s potential for revenue from tourism and foreign investment. It creates estimates of the total number of international visitors to each city, their cross-border spending in these cities, and a breakdown of their numbers by feeder cities. The index is therefore a global map of how these 132 cities are connected and the business potential generated in each of them by the inflows of visitor spending.

“The index points to a continued strong demand and interest in air travel, both for business and personal travel,” said Ann Cairns, president of International Markets, MasterCard. “The recognition of this year’s top international destinations reinforces the continued importance of cities as business, cultural and economic hubs.”

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