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Istanbul, Turkey Event Planning

Key Highlights

Hotels 744
Total Sleeping Rooms 60,869
Committable Sleeping Rooms* 840
Committable Meeting Rooms* 55
Convention Center Space 28,469 Sq. Mtr.
Largest Exhibit Space 7,000 Sq. Mtr.
Largest Ballroom 525 Sq. Mtr.
Average Hotel Room Rate TRY 883
Average Daily Meal Cost TRY 387
Average Weekly Car Rental TRY 676
*Maximum for a single hotel

Istanbul, Turkey Meeting Planning Overview

Spanning two continents and once serving as home to three great world empires, Istanbul has always been a crossroads for ideas and innovation. As such, it's no surprise that the city is the recipient of numerous industry awards and accolades, including being named the European Capital of Culture for 2010 by the European Union. It was also highly ranked on the International Congress and Convention Center's city rankings for meetings in all recent years. This well-deserved popularity undoubtedly comes from Istanbul's distinct ability to blend its historic cultural treasures with modern infrastructure, charming hospitality, and quality accommodations.

Istanbul's versatility is easily seen in its many contemporary meeting facilities, which are spread among three conference "clusters": the Airport & Exhibition District, the Business & Finance District, and the Conference Valley. Perhaps the largest of the districts, the Airport & Exhibition District boasts two large exhibition centers, a convention center, and several four- and five-star hotels. Among them, the massive World Trade Center Istanbul is an all-in-one meeting option, offering a 97,000-square-meter exhibition center, two luxury hotels, a convention center with a 4,000-person capacity, and a three-plaza business center.

The Business & Financial District, which lines the Bosphorus, offers numerous five-star accommodations with meeting space. Among them, the 323-room Grand Cevahir Hotel and Convention Center boasts 22 meeting rooms, a 2,500-square-meter ballroom, and a state-of-the-art, 1,013-seat auditorium. Combined with the convenience of being near the headquarters of several major companies and the Istanbul Stock Exchange, convention hotels in this district are ideal for conducting important business.

Within the Business & Financial District is Istanbul's Conference Valley, whose centerpiece is undoubtedly the expansive Istanbul Convention & Exhibition Centre. Here, convention guests find a 2,000-seat auditorium and a 2,100-square-meter ballroom in the brand-new 7,000-square-meter Rumeli Fair & Exhibition Hall. The center also features 21 meeting rooms, five boardrooms, and six VIP suites, plus 12-language simultaneous translation facilities, audio-visual technicians, catering for 7,000 people, and all the other necessary amenities to make conferences and banquets go smoothly.

Both within its three major meeting districts and outside of them, Istanbul has a wealth of unique venues that are sure to make an impression on convention goers. Sip champagne in the gardens of the stunning Dolmabahce Palace, former home to six Ottoman sultans and one-time residence of the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey. Groups of 10 to 800 people will delight in belly dancing performances and Turkish songs at Kervansaray, a traditional Turkish revue that's located within walking distance to numerous Conference Valley hotels. Or, book a luxury dinner cruise aboard the Bosphorus Princess, where panoramic views of the city's soaring minarets and majestic palaces serve as an unforgettable ending to a day in Istanbul.

Istanbul's meeting venues are made even more appealing by their accessibility. Whether by land, sea or air, the city is easily reached from points around the globe. With nine domestic and 23 international gates, Istanbul Ataturk International Airport is a bustling gateway. With about 700 daily flights, the airport is fewer than three hours by air from most major European cities. Within the city, an extensive public transportation network, along with large multi-seat taxis, or dolmuses, make it easy for guests to travel to and from points of interest.

Istanbul is the center of the Turkish economy, being both the hub of trade routes and the largest industrial center in the country. Major industrial products produced include textiles, rubber, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, glass, and electronics. The city is also an important place of higher learning, being home to over 20 public and private universities.

About Istanbul, Turkey / Additional Info

With a history that spans over 3,000 years, Istanbul offers visitors a little bit of everything. Exploring its streets, guests may just as easily encounter a marble palace alongside a contemporary hotel, cross from a modern bridge into a quaint, cobblestone street-lined neighborhood, or pass a majestic Ottoman mosque under the shadow of a towering skyscraper. This unparalleled blend of attractions is what brings in over 23 million visitors a year.

Istanbul's amazing historical and cultural depth can be traced back to its unique location. Situated on the Bosphorus Strait in the northwest part of Turkey, the city serves as an important port city for navigation between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. It also spans two continents, Europe and Asia — the only city is the world to do so. As such, Istanbul has been at a crucial crossroads for trade for centuries, making it the coveted location of choice for three world empires: the Romans, the Byzantines, and the Ottomans.

The influences of these great civilizations create truly one-of-a-kind attractions in Istanbul. Visit one of the world's best examples of Byzantine architecture, the Hagia Sophia, which was first built as a church by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. The impact of the Byzantine reign is also seen at the Basilica Cistern, located just west of the Hagia Sophia. Built to supply water to the city, the cistern today is an awe-inspiring, 9,800-square-meter underground chamber supported by over 300 marble columns. The magnificent Dolmabahce Palace and the Blue Mosque, whose six towering minarets are iconic elements of the city's skyline, are other key Istanbul attractions dating from Ottoman rule.

Guests can also immerse themselves in Turkish culture outside of the historic halls of its museums and churches. Visit the sprawling Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. Visitors can pick up everything from amber prayer beads to gold jewelry to furniture among the more than 5,000 shops that line the bazaar's 60 streets. Or, indulge in a relaxing treatment at one of Istanbul's many hamams, or Turkish baths. Suleymaniye Hamam, Cemberlitas Hamam and Cagaloglu Hamam are among the many historic baths that have been treating locals, visitors, and even royalty for years.

After a day of sightseeing, visitors can continue their exploration of Istanbul's people and tradition by enjoying some authentic cuisine. With restaurants popping up on nearly every corner, guests will have no problem finding a spot to enjoy culinary creations, including delicious mezes, or appetizers, the Istanbul specialty of Fish in Salt, or one of the classic kebabs, of which there are over 100 varieties. Cap off the evening with an after-dinner cup of freshlybrewed Turkish coffee, or opt for a glass of Turkey's national drink, raki, an anise-flavored spirit that turns milky white when mixed with chilled water.

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