Marriott International has opened up the first-ever Istanbul branch of the group's JW Marriott hotel chain.
The JW Marriott Istanbul Bosphorus is located in the city's trendy Karaköy neighborhood, along the coastline of the bustling Beyoğlu district, and comes thanks to a 93 million euro investment made by Qatar-based company Al Rayyan.
Speaking at a press conference during the opening ceremony on Tuesday, General Manager Sinan Köseoğlu said the group aimed to unleash Istanbul's real tourism potential.
Köseoğlu explained that the group had decided to base their latest hotel in the area's historical Veli Alemdar Han building after the completion of restoration works. "Qatar-based company Al Rayyan has invested in Sheraton Istanbul City Center, in addition to JW Marriott Istanbul Bosphorus. The company has bought two hotels with a total investment of 93 million euros," he said.
The Veli Alemdar Han building used to serve as an old caravanserai that would accommodate foreign shipping merchants. Designed by Italian architects 180 years ago, it has been used as a business center for much of the time since then.
Underscoring the increasing tourism potential of the city, Köseoğlu said Istanbul had the means to attract many luxury hotel brands as one of Turkey's most lucrative tourism destinations.
Meanwhile, the nearby Galataport megaproject is expected to boost the city's tourism sector even more, with a cruise port set to increase tourism revenues further. The port is expected to open in May 2020 and has been dubbed one of the world's largest coastal projects, with developers hoping the site will put Istanbul on the map as one of the world's top cruise destinations.
Asked about the possible effects of the ongoing coronavirus epidemic on bookings for Galataport, Köseoğlu said that they were not expecting any negative impact.
The port will host around 500 cruise ships with an average of 4,000 passengers each, likely reaching 2 million people, including the staff and the crew of the ship. The ongoing Galataport project on the Karaköy coastline will accommodate culture and art centers, a world-class cruise terminal, hotels, different brands, cafes, restaurants and office areas.
Marriott International, which is active in 131 countries with over 7,000 properties under 31 brands, aims to enhance its operations in Turkey.
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