Istanbul as a tourist destination has been losing favour over recent years due to security concerns and political instability, plaguing the country and its economy. Faced with such challenges, the city has lost some of its appeal but retains its place as a must-see destination due to its unique stature as a city with one foot in Europe, and the other in Asia Minor. Regardless of recent security concerns, the city’s many offerings makes Istanbul one of Europe’s top travel destinations.
International and domestic tourists have been deterred from visiting Istanbul due to numerous terror attacks. During 2016, five separate bombings, targeting tourist hotspots such as the historic Sultanahmet District, the shopping district of Beyoğlu, and Atatürk International Airport, left at least 123 dead and 497 injured. 2017 has already witnessed another terror attack in one of Istanbul’s famous nightclubs, discouraging tourists even further.
Istanbul is among the world’s leading medical tourism destinations, having one of the highest numbers of accredited (JCI/JACHO/ISO) medical facilities worldwide. Optical care, dental treatment, plastic surgery, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment, and hair transplantation in particular are the most common operations driving medical tourism in Istanbul.
Istanbul is at a crossroads between Western and Eastern cultures, hosting tourists with divergent demands, from the way they eat to what they consider as entertainment. As more Arab tourists are gaining access to the world travel market, Istanbul is increasingly investing in new lodging and entertainment facilities to capture this growing demand.
Beyond its tourism appeal, Istanbul is Turkey’s financial centre and the Turkish government is intent on making the city a regional and global financial centre as well.
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