According to Culture and Tourism Minister Nuri Ersoy, the mammoth cruise ship Costa Venezia anchored at Galataport on Thursday, making it the largest vessel to dock at the Turkish port, which is anticipated to treble its capacity in the near future.
After visiting the 64-metre-high (209-foot-high) cruise ship with a 5,100-passenger capacity with Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya, the minister made the announcement.
Istanbul to take the lead
"Istanbul needs to be a homeport again after years," Ersoy said, adding that the goal is for Istanbul to become the top location for receiving these types of cruise ships.
He mentioned that Istanbul has been added to the Michelin cuisine guide, and that the organisation would be handing out medals to the city's connected restaurants until October 11th.
"As a result, Istanbul has addressed all of its shortcomings, including retail, gastronomy, historical and natural wonders, airport infrastructure, direct flights to more than 130 cities, and metro infrastructure connecting the airport and city cores. We are fast reaping the benefits of this."
How long will the ship stay?
The Italian-flagged cruiser will stay in Istanbul for six days before departing with its passengers on Monday for the western province of Izmir.
Following the start of cruises on May 1, the Costa Venezia will embark on tours of Turkey and Greece, with Turkey serving as the main departure point.
"For the initial stage, there will be 25 tours planned. These excursions will run till the end of the year. They will conduct a programme over the Mediterranean after the winter, stretching as far as Egypt," the minister stated.
Number of reservations
Galataport presently has over 200 reservations, according to him, which is a significant number of bookings. "We believe this will more than treble in the following year," he added, saying that Istanbul will require a second port to open by 2024.
According to Ersoy, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is developing plans. "We want 42 million tourists and 35 billion USD in tourism revenue this year," Ersoy added.
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