Why your next conference should be in Istanbul

Levent Business District-Istanbul-Turkey

Famously straddling two continents, Istanbul has long been a center for trade and commerce. Here are just a few of the compelling reasons to choose Istanbul for your next business meeting, event or conference.

Global recognition

Its art, culture and cuisine might make Istanbul a reliable favorite among tourists, but this city is increasingly becoming recognized for its economic outlook and business-friendly facilities. In a report from accounting giant KPMG, Istanbul ranked in the top 25 most attractive cities worldwide for prospective businesses, and came in 25th on AT Kearney's Global Cities Index. What's more, Istanbul’s MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) sector placed 23rd in the 2017 International Congress and Convention Association rankings, based on the number of international association meetings hosted in the city.

Conference in Istanbul - MICE business in Istanbul, a man giving a speech/presentation

An international meeting place

One of Istanbul’s greatest natural strengths is its location at the crossroads of Asia and Europe. This makes it a strategically sound central meeting point for international conference delegates, who are equally likely to travel from Asia, Europe or the Americas. Drawing on the region's 8,500-year history, the local culture is inherently global, incorporating a blend of both European and Eastern sensibilities. Istanbul is no slouch at proving itself equally relevant in modern respects: in 2010, the EU named Istanbul its European Capital of Culture, and the city is home to over 70 museums and almost 50 universities. After business hours, explore the always-on Beyoğlu district, which is packed with restaurants, museums and bars.

Conference in Istanbul - Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey.

Increasingly convenient infrastructure

Istanbul is easy to navigate. You can access railways, mini buses, ferries and city buses with a single transit pass, the Istanbulkart. A number of projects went under way in recent years to further improve Istanbul’s transport infrastructure; in 2016 a third bridge was built over the Bosphorus Strait, and the Euro-Asia tunnel was officially opened as well. Lastly, the new Istanbul Airport was formerly inaugurated in April 2019. This massive renovation spanned over four phases and cost a whopping $12 billion, and will now connect Istanbul seamlessly to the rest of the world with flights to more than 300 destinations and an annual capacity of 200 million passengers.

World-class venues

There are seven convention centers and three exhibition centers in Istanbul, so it can host everything from small expos to massive association meetings. At the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Istanbul Tuzla, you’ll find fully equipped meeting spaces spanning over 3,000 meters. These include an elegant ballroom, a conference hall and versatile meeting rooms and spaces. In Istanbul, event planners can shuttle between modern boardrooms and quirkier historic spaces, lavishly decorated with Ottoman paintings. Venues like the Istanbul Archeological Museum allow you to host an outdoor event just meters away from the sarcophagus of Alexander the Great, for example. Alternatively, you have options like the Istanbul Congress Center with its utterly modern audiovisual equipment and sleek architecture.

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