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Check out Rising Star of 2022: Istanbul

Işık Körpe  ·  Updated 11 December 2022

As we are closing 2022 soon, it is worth highlighting Istanbul as the rising star of tourism in 2022 and it continues to welcome tourists from all over the world towards 2023 even weather is getting cooler. So, what happened during 2022 in terms of the tourism boom experienced in this country especially in Istanbul, what does it have to offer and what tourists found exciting about travelling to Istanbul?

In the years leading up to the pandemic, Istanbul experienced an increase in the number of tourists, who came to Istanbul for a variety of reasons, including shopping, sightseeing, and medical tourism. Istanbul has long been known for its rich culture, art, and history and it continues to be among the top tourist locations after the pandemic.

Istanbul Tourism Boom 2023

Forbes says that the number of Americans traveling to Turkey in the first half of 2022 is up 76.8% over the same period in 2019 before the pandemic began. This is in contrast to the global tourism industry, which saw a precipitous decline in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID epidemic.

According to Statista, during the pandemic caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19), travel restrictions caused a significant drop in the number of international tourists visiting Istanbul. This drop was especially noticeable in April and May of 2020 when each had fewer than one thousand visitors. The number of visitors from other countries has started to climb once again in 2022, reaching an all-time high of approximately 1.8 million in July of that year. This number has reached roughly 1.6 million by October 2022.

Again, as per the statistics, 126,507 visitors arrived from Germany in June. This was followed by 117,169 tourists who came from Russia, 99,115 tourists who came from Iran, 96,604 tourists who came from the United States, and 59,901 tourists who came from the United Kingdom.

2022 Istanbul Tourism Trends

One of the patterns that have been seen is that guests are staying for longer periods, with the average length of stay being 10.8 days in this most recent year.

Travel and Tourism Trends 2023 Istanbul

The city of Istanbul is the most popular place for Americans to visit when they are in Turkey. It is common for tourists to combine visits to Istanbul, a bustling metropolis, with Cappadocia, a region in the east of the country known for its distinctive scenery.


In June of 2022, Istanbul Airport had the most passengers of any airport in Europe:

According to statistics provided by Airports Council International (ACI) Europe, passenger traffic had a little decrease when compared to its level before the pandemic (1.7%), but it increased by more than twice, reaching 115.4%, when compared to the previous year.

The numbers show that there were 5.996 million passengers that traveled through Istanbul Airport in June of 2022, placing it in the top place in Europe.

With 3.91 million passengers in October, the Antalya Airport in the Turkish resort city on the Mediterranean was the eighth busiest airport in Europe. This places it as the second Turkish airport among the top 10 busiest airports in the world.

Travelling to Istanbul

Enjoying Turkish Airlines at its Best:

Turkish Airlines, the nation’s flag carrier, became the first global business to generate a profit in 2021 as European air traffic increased, and the firm is on track to post record profits in 2022. With an average of 1,506 daily flights in European airspace at the beginning of August, it is the busiest conventional airline in the continent, well outpacing Lufthansa (1,202) and Air France (1,065).

Turkish Airlines offers reasonable rates and reduced fares to many international locations. You may compare the costs and itineraries of various travel options using travel search engines. Upgrades for business class travel are also reasonably priced.

Turkish Airlines 2023

The company also provides comfortable seating and roomy space. If you plan on travelling to Istanbul in business class, you will find in-chair massage functions, charging stations, personal screens, and a reading lamp.

Of course, we have to mention the world-renowned meals of Turkish Airlines. It does a fantastic job of providing its customers with delectable cuisine and offers delicious meals on each flight.

What Happened in the Istanbul City During 2022?

The Basilica Cistern is a location that has stood the test of time despite being constructed over 1500 years ago. It is one of the most significant remnants of Istanbul’s countless years and complex past that have led up to the present. The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Heritage crews completed the most extensive renovation of the Basilica Cistern Museum, which was inaugurated on July 22.

Mid-fifth-century Byzantine Emperor Justinian constructed the cistern and since there are other water reservoirs in the area, the Basilica Cistern was one of them for a long time. Due to its many marble columns (336) and inverted Medusa heads, it has an unquenchable aesthetic appeal.

From the first week, the 1500-year-old cistern welcomed more than 70,000 people. Before the renovation, the ancient cistern had an average of 3,000 visitors per day. Today, there are more than 8,000 visitors.

Basilica Cistern Istanbul 2023

Another renovation and upgrade has been made in Serefiye Cistern. The 1,600-year-old Serefiye Cistern, one of the oldest water features on the Historic Peninsula, defies historical explanation. The cistern, which is thought to have been constructed between 408 and 450 during the reign of Theodosius II, is claimed to have been called after the Ottoman-era area where it was situated.

Visitors are pouring into the famous Serefiye Cistern, and the total number of visitors throughout the first ten months of 2022 came to 223 thousand 766.

Along with these cisterns, Hagia Sophia and Topkapı Palace continue to attract visitors travelling to Istanbul. The Ottoman sultans lived at the Topkapi Palace, which is still intact, from the 15th through the 19th centuries. The Imperial Treasury, which is a must-see site, is one of the several buildings housing the Harem that is surrounded by four courtyards with beautiful gardens and fountains.

For Hagia Sophia, it was first built as a church in 537, changed into a mosque in 1453, and finally became a museum in 1935. You will be submerged in the dome’s splendor when you stand underneath it. The Hagia Sophia, one of Istanbul’s most magnificent buildings, is a sight not to be missed!

Hagia Sophia 2023 Winter

The Cuisine of Istanbul and the New Restaurants Earning Michelin Stars in 2022:

Istanbul is home to a fusion of Mediterranean and other world cuisines, which can be found in the city’s rich and cosmopolitan Turkish dishes and international cuisine. Fine dining restaurants may be found on roofs and terraces throughout the Ulus neighborhood, many of which provide breathtaking panoramas of the Bosphorus Bridge and the surrounding cityscape.

Fatih Tutak Turk Michelin Restaurant Istanbul

As a result, the fact that Istanbul is on track to become the 38th location to be recognized by the Michelin Guides as one of the world’s most prominent culinary destinations is regarded to be quite an achievement. For those who are passionate about cuisine, the red-covered Michelin guidebooks are equivalent to the Bible.

An award event was held to announce the 53 restaurants that were chosen as a consequence of this investigation. This evening, a rating of five stars was given to the restaurant. Mikla, Nicole, Araka, and Neolokal each received one star, while Fatih Tutak received two stars for their respective restaurants.

Istanbul Michelin Turk Fatih Tutak

TURK Fatih Tutak is a restaurant that can be found in the Bomonti neighborhood of Sisli on the European Side of the city. This restaurant caters to gourmets who are interested in tasting traditional Turkish flavors and offers a contemporary and sophisticated menu that has been expertly reinterpreted by chef Fatih Tutak. In 2019, this exceptional professional made his way back to Turkey and started his own fine-dining establishment. During his international career, he had the opportunity to work with some of the most well-known personalities in the world of gastronomy. The characteristic cuisine of the chef, which has delectable, acidic, and smokey overtones, is extremely genuine, thorough, and, most importantly, MICHELIN GUIDE reflects the chef’s commitment to the place in which he was raised and his origins. If you are travelling to Istanbul, this restaurant will make you experience one of the best fine dining experiences in the city!

Galataport and Tourism Success:

At the 2022 Seatrade Cruise Awards, the top cruise industry event presented at Seatrade Cruise Med, Galataport Istanbul was named “Port of the Year.” Galataport Istanbul, which covers 1.2 km of the Bosphorus shoreline, contains the first subterranean cruise ship terminal and breathes new life into one of the city’s most significant historical neighborhoods.

Galataport has received 30 cruise ships so far in 2022; its officials anticipate that number to increase to 200 by the end of the year.

Galataport 2023 Istanbul

By 2023, there will be 250 ships anchored at the port, which aims to receive 25 million visitors annually, including 1.5 million cruise passengers. A further 50 ships are anticipated to arrive.

Galataport Istanbul provides a breathing, wholesome, and safe environment for culture & arts, performing shopping, and dining in addition to its primary function as a port and commerce center. This is made possible by its accessible low-rise buildings, architectural style that encompasses the area’s historical backdrop, a wide range of transport options, and more.

Maiden’s Tower Will Be Open to Visit in 2023 March:

The Maiden’s Tower will function as a monument and a museum in line with its historical and monumental worth in March 2023, when the Republic of Turkey celebrates its 100th anniversary.

This island was once a burial site during the Greek era and later served as a customs post with a Byzantine-era extension. From the demonstration platform to the defensive fortress, from the exile station to the quarantine chamber, numerous functions were loaded throughout the Ottoman era.

Maiden Tower 2023 Istanbul

Legend of the Princess

One of the most well-known legends regarding Maiden’s Tower has a tragic conclusion. According to legend, the King was informed that when his daughter reached 18 she would be bitten by a snake and die. The King builds a castle amid the sea to safeguard his beautiful princess out of fear that he may lose his cherished daughter. The princess is killed by a snake that emerges from the grape basket they delivered to the tower, despite the king believing that doing so would protect his daughter from the serpent.

New Transportation Updates in Istanbul:

Mecidiyekoy-Beşiktaş-Kabataş Metro-Subway Line

The fact that there are many different alternatives for public transportation is one of the most appealing aspects of traveling in Istanbul. Commuters have access to a variety of modes of public transportation, including trams, subways, buses, and so on, particularly on the European continent, which encompasses the well-known districts of Sultanahmet, Karakoy, and Taksim.

The good news is that a brand new subway line will begin operating in 2022, interconnecting several well-known areas, including Beşiktaş, Kabataş, and Mecidiyekoy, amongst others.

Istanbul Tram 2023

In addition, the countdown has started for the Gayrettepe-Istanbul Airport metro, which is being constructed to offer transit to Istanbul Airport from the core of the city. The metro has a daily capacity of 600 thousand people between its 9 stations and travels at a maximum speed of 120 kilometers per hour, making it the fastest form of public transportation in Turkey.

When the Istanbul Airport Metro line finally opens, travelers will have access to a mode of transportation that is not only quick but also secure and pleasant.

It is anticipated that the metro line would be placed into operation no later than December at the very latest.

Medical Tourism in Turkey:

Turkey is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for those seeking health tourism. Many people from different parts of the globe are making plans to go to Turkey so that they and their families may take advantage of the country’s low prices and high-quality medical services. First and foremost, world-class medical care is the reason why people choose Turkey. When compared to the pricing in other nations, those in Turkey are the most reasonable.

Also, medical tourists often choose Turkey since the country has a large number of medical facilities that have earned accreditation from the Joint Commission International (JCI). In addition, medical experts and hospitals provide patients with services of the highest caliber and first-rate facilities and facilities, respectively. Because of these factors, Turkey is among the top three nations in the world in terms of the rate of growth in the sector of health tourism, and it is also in the top 10 countries in terms of overall exports of health services.

In the first three quarters of the year 2022, a total of 876,521 individuals traveled to Turkey to obtain medical treatment.

The majority of the overall revenue comes from the hair transplantation field, which is followed by other cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures, as well as dental care and surgeries. Hair transplantation tourism has a very significant part in the field of health tourism. The majority of visitors are from Europe and Arab countries, however, there has been a recent uptick in the number of tourists travelling to Istanbul and Turkey from Asian nations.

Medical Tourism Turkey 2023

People pick Turkey as a destination because Turkish clinics provide good hair transplantation outcomes and provide treatments and procedures at inexpensive pricing. It is a highly well-known operation among international patients from Saudi Arabia, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, England, and other Middle Eastern nations.

Aesthetic procedures including rhinoplasty, tummy tucks, breast enlargement/ reductions, neck lifts, chin implants, and lip augmentation are performed on more than 100,000 patients each year in Turkey. These operations often cost one-third less than they would in western nations. The majority of international patients, according to the Turkish Ministry of Tourism, are from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and France.

Turkish dental clinics sometimes incorporate travel and holiday arrangements in their treatment packages, and dental operations there are significantly less expensive than in nations like the UK or the USA. These draw many international patients to Turkey, mostly from Western Europe or the USA.

Visitors who are going to be staying in Istanbul often take advantage of the chance to see the city while also getting their medical needs met.

What awaits Turkey in 2023 in Terms of Tourism?

Following the very busy tourist season of 2022, expectations are quite high for 2023. Demand in both health tourism and incentive travel demonstrates that Turkey’s tourist mobility will steadily improve over the next several years.

Istanbul will host Champions League 2023 Final along with many other important events and meetings in Istanbul.

We have successfully managed the incentive and business travels this past year as the leading travel agency in Istanbul. We have hosted numerous to thousands of visitors from a wide variety of nations all over the globe who are interested in experiencing luxury business tourism in Istanbul including five-star hotels, convention spaces,  fine-dining restaurants, team building activities and authentic alternatives for business vacations that Istanbul and other tourist hubs in Turkey have to offer. We are preparing even more for 2023, in case you are travelling to Istanbul this year!

Turkey Tourism Travel 2023

Expectations Regarding Tourism in Turkey for the Year 2023

Tourism income is predicted to surpass 41 billion dollars by the end of this year, and it is projected to reach 50 billion dollars in 2023. At the same time, the number of tourists is anticipated to touch 60 million.

The initiative aims to raise the average spending per tourist to 850 dollars, with the average stay being 11.9 nights and the income per visitor being 71.4 dollars per night. It is anticipated that this will increase the average expenditure per visitor.