What's new in Turkey?

What's new in Turkey?

Bridging Asia and Europe, Turkey leads Mabrian's list of top 10 outbound destinations for GCC travellers

From Cappadocia’s rugged lunar landscapes to the Turquoise Coast’s aquamarine waters and the cultured cobbled streets of Istanbul, Turkey is a country of multitudinous character. Here, old meets new, East meets West, and natural wonders meet historical treasures.

In and around Istanbul, the most talked-about tourism assets, according to data collated by Mabrian, include the Bosphorus Strait, Topkapi Palace Museum, historical Üsküdar district and the sunny suburbs of Beylikdüzü, overlooking the Marmara Sea and Sariyer, known for its Black Sea beaches and the Belgrad Forest, which makes it one of the capital’s greenest spaces.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey revealed that the first two months of 2024 have shown a 12% year-on-year increase in foreign visitors to the country, reaching 4.3 million during January and February. iGA Istanbul Airport also declared 2024 the ‘Year of Investments’, confirming a target of US$700m, welcoming 11 new airlines and implementing the first triple parallel runway operation in Europe by the end of the year. 


New Attractions
The new Istanbul Modern Museum has been enhancing the city’s art scene since May 2023. New exhibitions include The Photographer’s Testimony by Ozan Sagdic, running until 20 October 2024, which presents works from one of Turkey’s most prominent photographers.

Two new additions on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list, announced in September 2023, include the ancient city of Gordion, which dates back to the Early Bronze Age, and the Wooden Hypostyle Mosques of Medieval Anatolia, comprising five mosques built between the late 13th and mid-14th centuries.

In just three years, the Culture Road Festival has increased artist participation from 2,000 to 34,000. The programme in 2024 started with the Orange Blossom Carnival in Adana in April and concludes in Antalya on 10 November. En route, more than 80 original works by Pablo Picasso will be presented to art lovers in different cities to mark the 50th anniversary of the artist’s death.


The new Night Museum project invites visitors to see ancient archaeological venues in a new light after dark. Cultural sites across the country, such as the ancient city of Hierapolis, will extend their visiting hours until midnight.

On the food tourism front, seven new Michelin stars were awarded across Turkey in November 2023, giving good reason for gourmands to visit. The seaside town of Urla, near Izmir, earned three of the new Michelin stars: one each for Od Turla, Teruar Urla and Vino Locale.

Istanbul is set to host the European Games in 2027, and is eying up the bid for 2036 Olympics

New Hotels
Turkey’s hotel scene is as diverse as its topography, with 145 new four- and five-star hotel openings slated for 2024.

Intimate and remote, Yazz Collective in Fethiye – set within a private bay and accessible only by sea – opened in 2023, offering highfliers a discreet resort with just 16 guest houses, verdant gardens, a private beach and, of course, a marina. 

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Marking a glorious new chapter for Istanbul’s Grande Dame, Curagan Palace Kempinski reopened in summer 2023 following a major refurb that combined a rich insight into Ottoman culture with contemporary five-star hospitality.

One of 2024’s newest openings is Marriott’s Sanasaryan Han, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Istanbul. Originally built in 1895, it’s both an urban oasis and a neo-baroque masterpiece, perfectly located close to the Grand Bazaar, the Blue Mosque (pictured) and Hagia Sophia. It hosts cultural evenings in its library bar, with open-mic poetry nights and inspiring talks.

Travel and tourism data intelligence provider Mabrian shared insights on Azerbaijan as an outbound destination for GCC travellers:


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