The future is bright for Istanbul’s cruise industry, says Figen Ayan
This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2019 issue of International Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
It’s been an unsteady few years for Istanbul’s cruise industry, but things are looking up, and it’s all thanks to a new multimillion-pound project to transform Galataport into a gateway to Istanbul culture.
The new Galataport Istanbul Cruise Port will see the Karaköy coastline, which currently has restricted access, transformed into a promenade open to the public, connecting the city with the sea. Through a myriad of winding streets around the buildings, visual and physical access to the Bosphorus Strait will be once again restored.
In and around this area, there will be around 250 retail stores and food and beverage establishments. Historical buildings will be restored, within which a new, 177-room prestigious global chain hotel will be established. The area will also play host to the Istanbul Modern Museum, the first contemporary arts museum in Turkey, as well as the Istanbul Painting & Sculpture Museum of the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University.
And this is just the start. At the centre of the new development will be a new, world class cruise ship terminal. Designed to be quite unlike anything else, it is being built underground so that domestic and foreign tourists can continue their activities and enjoyment uninterrupted. The customs bonded area is separated from the rest of the site with a special three-metre long rising hatch. All cruise operations will remain behind this barrier.
When the new Galataport Istanbul Cruise Port opens its doors in the second quarter of 2020, it will accommodate three ships simultaneously and host an average of 15,000 cruise passengers per day. A new underground car park will provide capacity for 2,300 vehicles. The port will contribute greatly to Turkey’s tourism, hosting a total of 25 million visitors annually, including seven million foreign tourists and one and a half million cruise passengers including the crew.
It is shaping up to be something genuinely incredible, a place where local and foreign tourists and Istanbulites can come together to embrace everything the region has to offer, from art and culture, through to fine dining and breathtaking scenery.
Thanks to this renovation project Turkey has regained the confidence of the major cruise companies. We are extremely happy to have received over 60 bookings for 2020 from lines including Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Oceania Cruises and Le Ponant. The number of bookings received for 2021 is even more positive standing at nearly 120.
The future undoubtedly looks bright for Istanbul, I’m delighted that we are bouncing back with style.
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