In an announcement released by the District Culture and Tourism Department, Director Ahmet Emre Bilgili noted that although Istanbul experienced a record-breaking month in terms of hosting over a million foreign tourists, "The recent protests has now reached a point of harming Istanbul's image and functionality in tourism. It is now time for everyone to act with responsibility for their city. Taksim and Talimhane need to be saved from these images that do not concord with tourism," stated Bilgili.
In the first five months of the year, Istanbul experienced a 21 percent increase in number of visitors compared to last year with a total 3,983,674 tourists. The number of tourists to visit the city in May also rose by 22 percent this year reaching a figure of 1,058,771. Tourist figures for May broke a historical record for being the first time over one million tourists have visited Istanbul within one month.
The distribution of nationalities of tourists that visited the city in May are as follows: at 452,088 German's topped the list, Russia followed with 252,376 visitors, France was third with 185,693, the U.S. came in fourth with 175,315, Italy followed with 173,528, England brought in 170, 181, there were 123,827 visitors from Iran, 110,160 from Holland, 103,619 from Ukraine and 92,515 from Libya.
The announcement, which also included the views of District Culture and Tourism Director Ahmet Emre Bilgili, writes, "In May of 2013, Istanbul broke a record for hosting over a million foreign visitors in one month. This increase and rate seen since the start of the year is heading in a direction that is sustainable for Istanbul. The recent protests have now reached a point of harming Istanbul's image and functionality in tourism. It is now time for everyone to act with responsibility for their city. Preserving our image and security, which is our main asset which we have worked to build up for years is one of the most important factors. Therefore, Istanbul's Taksim and Talimhane, which hosts a number of tourism and congress centers, need to be saved from these images that do not concord with tourism immediately."