Closure of Istanbul’s Main Cruise Port Negatively Affects Economy

By ,   October 25, 2016 ,   Cruise Industry

Closing down of the main cruise port of Istanbul for the port extension project negatively affected the economy of one of the prime historic districts in the city.

Istanbul’s historic cruise port in Karaköy was closed down in preparations for the construction of the new Galataport cruise ship facilities in 2015. With a dramatic decline in the number of cruise passengers visiting the Nuruosmaniye Street, chic and luxurious shopping spot in the Sultanahmet Square, many businesses have closed down over the last year, daily Dünya reported on October 24. 

The number of foreign visits to Turkey had already declined to 17.4 million in the first eight months of the year, a 32 percent decrease from the same period in 2015, with dramatic plunges in arrivals from Western and Asian countries, and Russia, temporary data from the Tourism Ministry showed on Sept. 29.

“When the cruise port was open, Nuruosmaniye Street was visited by many cruise tourist groups in hot seasons. These good days have come to an end. Many hotels are empty now,” said a tradesman from the historic district, adding that they were mainly hit by a sharp decline in the number of tourists who liked shopping.

“We have faced around an 80% loss in our business revenues over the last year,” he added.

Local tradesmen said the sector was relieved during spring, but has been hit again by recent bomb attacks in Istanbul. Businesses deteriorated after the bombing in the central district of Vezneciler, in Istanbul’s historic peninsula. A car bomb that targeted a police vehicle in Vezneciler during the morning rush hour killed 11 people, six of whom were police officers, and wounded 36 others on June 7. 

In 2016, Istanbul tradesmen lost almost 90% of their businesses, compared to 2015.