Hosting the Istanbul International Finance Center, the preferred choice of accommodation for the business world, the Anatolian side has also begun to attract shopping tourists, as well. Already an attractive area for visitors with its touristic and historical spots, including the Maiden's Tower, Beylerbeyi Palace, Üsküdar, Çamlıca Hill and Prince's Islands, the area has also come to the fore with new, modern shopping malls.
Because tourists staying in the area's hotels began asking hotel employees for shopping mall addresses, malls and hotels decided to collaborate in this regard. Many hotels provide shuttles to carry tourists to malls in the area. Tourism professionals said shopping centers and hotels have begun to send tourists to each other. "This is a win-win situation for both sides. Shopping has increased the number of tourists in the region," they added.
Burak Ektiren, the general manager of Hilton Istanbul Kozyatağı, said they are focusing on the tourism potential on the Anatolian side with a strong promotion campaign that informs tourists about nearby shopping opportunities.
"Our hotel is 4 kilometers from shopping centers that offer a wide variety of name brands and from Bagdat Avenue, one of Europe's longest shopping streets. We highlight this advantage to our guests from Europe and the Middle East. We provide shuttles to some malls. There is serious potential here," Ektiren said.
Ektiren said the number of tourists who come to Istanbul just to shop has increased, highlighting that tourists staying here have begun to share their stories on social media. "Our marketing activities are also progressing.
We are reaping the rewards of all this," Ektiren said, noting that tourists arriving recently have been asking for the addresses of large malls including Emaar Square Mall, Akasya, Brandium and Palladium as well as touristic spots like Maiden's Tower, Beylerbeyi Palace, Üsküdar, Kadıköy and Çamlıca Hill.
Burak Ektiren said besides for foreign tourists, Turks living abroad visit Istanbul for shopping, stressing that their interest in the region has increased, as well.
Ektiren recalled that an average tourist spends $650, while shopping tourists drop over $1,000. "This rate is much higher for Turkish guests living abroad," Ektiren said, adding that tourists require accommodation for three nights on average.