According to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), Turkey is in the top 10 of the world’s meeting and congress destinations. The country ranks eighteenth globally as a growing destination for MICE tourism. And the city of Istanbul ranks eighth on the global leaderboard because it is a bridge between East and West. Both in terms of trade and culture. Turkey is therefore exceptionally well positioned as a destination for the MICE industry.
In addition to its geographic advantage as a natural bridge between Europe and the Middle East, bordered by the Black Sea and Marmara Sea, Turkey, and specifically its capital Istanbul, has seen billions of dollars invested in core infrastructure projects to boost its tourism sector and enhance its position as a viable business and family destination.
The Istanbul Congress Centre (ICC) can is considered to be one of the leading platforms or pillars that serve as a solid foundation for the industry. Not only does it have 14,000 square meters of exhibition space, but it also houses more than 18 meeting halls 90 workshops. The venue was constructed in 2009 and is centrally located in the heart Istanbul.
What gives the ICC its edge is the Istanbul’s impressive and ever-evolving infrastructure. Turkey has been able to attract an increasing number of businesses and people from the European, Middle East and African regions, looking for opportunity and development. We have also seen a rise in investment interest from the Far East.
Long-term planning and active private-public investments in the country’s transport and tourism sectors have left Turkey with two international airports, and a third – said to be the biggest in the world – is now being built. The country’s carrier, Turkish Airlines, with over 200 destinations plays a vital role in raising awareness about Istanbul’s standing within the MICE industry.
The real turning point for the Turkish MICE industry was with the hosting of the United Nations (UN) Habitat II Conference that was held in Istanbul in 1996. This massive event was a driving force in the country’s development of tourism infrastructure and MICE capabilities, such as large international and domestic hotels and high tech conferencing facilities.
And with the launch of the fifth ACE of MICE Exhibition in Turkey, the third largest congress, meeting and events exhibition in the world between the 21st and 23rd of February 2018, Istanbul will once again become the focus of the international MICE industry.
Held every year by the Tourism Media Group organization, the exhibition will see 746 hosted buyers from 39 countries flock to the city. Over 9,791 business to business (B2B) meetings have been arranged, along with 220 national and international exhibitors, 19 sessions, 35 speakers, 160 sponsors and 15,000+ domestic and foreign visitors are expected to witness this grand event.
The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism has also played a significant role in promoting Turkey as a tourist and travel hub. The Ministry worked for years to encourage other regions and cities within Turkey, to grow and develop their tourism and MICE portfolio, namely Antalya, which saw a positive impact on the growth of tourism and business travel.
Today, Antalya has also taken up a leadership position in the MICE industry. The city has seen its tourism trade grow in 2017 and surpass 2016 figures. The number of tourists reached 7.2 million in the first eight months this year when last year the number reached 6.4 million for the whole year. One of the major attractions was the EEMA (Event and Entertainment Management Association) Global Leadership Retreat, a four-day convention for India’s event planners industry.
And to strengthen its global positioning, Antalya signed a ‘Sister City Agreement’ with Miami in the United States. Antalya also launched a popular new theme park, The Land of Legends Theme Park, the most significant leisure and entertainment park in Turkey. The destination welcomed half million visitors in its first three months of operations.
All the efforts have meant that Antalya and Istanbul will shine into the future as leading global destinations for the MICE industry.
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