A new cruise ship port is set to transform Istanbul's Karakoy coastline next year. Galataport will open in the second quarter of 2020, following a US$1.7 billion investment in the project.
The joint venture by Dogus Group and Bilgili Holding will open in April next year in a central city location on the European shore of the Bosphorus.
The announcement comes amidst news that Turkey's tourist sector has rebounded after a low point in 2016. In 2017, just four cruise ships visited Turkey, a stark contrast to 2013's 307 ships. However, improved diplomatic ties and regional stability have brought tourists flooding back to the country, attracted by slashed prices, and this year, 400 ships are tipped to visit the country.
Around half a million people will take a cruise in Turkey this year. The sector is a lucrative one, with cruise ship tourist spending $1000 each day, significantly more than the average tourist. Ships dock for days at a time, dispatching visitors to take in the sights of the city.
Galataport is expected to host 64 cruise ships next year, bringing some 1.5 million cruise ship tourists to Istanbul. That figure is expected to rise to 145 in 2021. For context, 13 million tourists visited Turkey's largest city last year, and 30,000 of these arrived on a cruise ship. The venture will also create 5000 jobs, and have a hugely positive effect on local trade.
Where is Karakoy, Istanbul?
On the banks of the Bosphorus in Istanbul's Beyoglu district, Karakoy is one of the oldest established neighbourhoods in the city, with the first traces of settlement dating back to Byzantine times.
The suburb is located right in front of the old town, near the Galata Bridge and the famous Galata Tower. It covers the area between the shore of the Golden Horn, to the Borphorus.
The area is inhabited by a mix of people with Turkish, Greek, Jewish and Russian heritage. It's well worth a wander to soak in the history and culture of this unique neighbourhood.
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