Istanbul’s resilience after coup in Turkey
In June alone, tourism arrivals fell by 41 per cent to 2.4 million
CHARLES KERICH/ Few cities exist in the world that boast of a richer history than Istanbul, the ancient, yet modern city of Turkey.
The country’s largest tourism destination now exemplifies Turkey’s recovery from the July 15 coup attempt that saw visitor numbers significantly drop. In June, tourism arrivals fell by 41 per cent to 2.4 million.
In this one month alone, the worst in recent history, the arrival numbers were still higher than Kenya’s total arrivals of 1.18 million for the whole of 2015. There are many lessons Kenya can learn to boost visitor arrival numbers.
And with the country mending re- lations with Russia, Istanbul and other tourism destination cities such as Antalya are preparing for a boom once again.
Central to the growth of Turkish tourism is the national carrier, Turkish Airlines, which recently organised a trip to Istanbul for more than 100 journalists from various countries. The airline boasts of the largest number of destinations, touching down in 218 destinations in 108 countries.
Chairman Ilker Ayci announced that the airline will begin flights to Seychelles by the end of this month, to Dar es Salaam from December 12 and to Guinea early next year. “We will continue to grow in Africa to connect Africa to the world,” he said.
The airline’s efforts are supplemented by the building of a new airport in Istanbul that will have parking space for 550 aircraft with six runways. Phase one of the project due in 2018 will handle 90 million passengers.
Ataturk Airport is currently third largest in the world in passenger numbers after Heathrow in Britain and Charle de Gaulle in France. With the new airport, Istanbul aims to overtake Charle de Gaulle to become the second largest. Ayci says the coup attempt marginally affected the airline’s operations, although the management had to sack several employees suspected to have links to the organisers.
People visit shops at the Grand Bazaar, one of the biggest tourist attraction sites in Istanbul,Turkey