The major renovation and port project tailored for Istanbul, Galataport, will see the first ship to anchor at its shores in August, opening a new era for the metropolis’ tourism industry as it aims to become one of the industry's top cruise destinations.
Mehmet Bali, vice-chairperson responsible for marketing at the Galataport Istanbul, told Anadolu Agency (AA) Thursday that Galataport will begin a gradually opening period next month.
The first ship, carrying 800 passengers, will be coming from the Russian Black Sea coastal city of Sochi and will continue to the Black Sea after docking at the Istanbul port.
Speaking broadly about the project, Bali described the Galata neighborhood of Istanbul as an area that brings together history, innovation and aesthetics.
Commenting on the project’s importance in terms of the tourism and cruise industry in particular, Bali said that there is a cruise terminal within the project's scope, a 29,000 square meter terminal built under the ground.
The port's new terminal has been designed underground so visitors and residents of Istanbul can enjoy the promenade without disruption during cruise operations. An underground car park is also being planned to solve the parking problem in the neighborhood.
Bali said that they expect 1.5 million cruise ship passengers yearly, and drew attention to the fact that cruise ship vacationers generally spend more when compared to other tourists, thus contributing more to local sectors.
A ship was set to dock at Galataport Istanbul in April, however, it was postponed due to the pandemic. Bali explained that reservations have now resumed and, once cruise ships begin sailing again, they will be there to host them.
“The terminal is ready; our operational center is ready as well,” he said.
During the coronavirus pandemic, 200 cruise ships carrying 350,000 passengers have made reservations to anchor at Galataport throughout this year, according to previous statements.
The port project is located on the shore along Istanbul's Karaköy district. The area will host several arts centers, a world-class cruise terminal, hotels and various boutiques, cafes and restaurants, along with office spaces. The terminal includes a port space capable of providing services for the world's largest vessels, a passport terminal, check-in areas and large-scale waiting rooms.
It is jointly being built by Turkey's Doğuş Group and Bilgili Holding with an investment of $1.7 billion (TL 14.77 billion).
The Galataport Istanbul project, built on an area of 400,000 square meters in the city center by the Bosporus, is being built on an area large enough to contain 53 football fields.
Galataport Istanbul, which sets an example for similar projects in the world, has a terminal constructed underground with a special cover system, the first of its kind in the world. With this innovation, the coastline of Karaköy, which has been closed to access for nearly 200 years, has been put into public service, offering the best walking path of the city.
Galataport Istanbul promises its visitors a venue that brings together culture, art, work, shopping and eating opportunities.
Once fully operational, the project is expected to provide jobs for 4,500 people.
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