Istanbul is becoming one of the most accessible destinations in the world, according to the latest Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index, which showed the Turkish megacity’s international air connectivity improved the most out of 132 key global cities between 2009 and 2013. The Index also ranked Istanbul sixth in terms of the number of overnight visitors it will receive in 2013.
Highlighting Istanbul’s importance as a gateway between East and West and its growing attraction as a property investment destination, of the 12 cities shown by Mastercard to have the fastest increase in air travel connectivity, all are located east and south of Istanbul with the exception of Moscow. Second to Istanbul in the rankings was Dubai, followed by Singapore, Seoul, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Air connectivity measures not only the scope of each city’s connections with other cities by air travel, but also the frequency of each connection.
Istanbul’s international overnight visitor numbers for 2013 are forecast to hit 10.37 million by Mastercard, one position ahead of Dubai in seventh spot and behind New York in fifth, then Singapore, Paris, London and in first place, Bangkok, which has a predicted 15.98 million visitors. However, if the current top 10 destination cities maintain their current rates of growth over the next few years, then Mastercard predicts that by 2016 Istanbul will surpass Singapore, New York and Paris in terms of international visitor arrivals.
Within Europe alone, Istanbul is ranked third in terms of overnight visitors from abroad, with Paris in second place and London in the number one spot. However, Mastercard highlighted strong growth in the city, which if continues will mean the city will overtake Paris by 2016.