This week, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality -- the city government of Turkey's largest city -- launched Visit Istanbul, a global tourism campaign designed to increase visitation from target countries, including Middle Eastern nations, the United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, France, India, China and the United States.
The new campaign will last for one year and will focus on telling the story behind Istanbul's historical and cultural assets. Among the first efforts is "Meet With History of Your Dream City," an original movie that the city has placed on social media to promote its historical attractions. A second movie focusing on culinary attributes, "Gastronomy Istanbul," will be released soon.
Earlier this month, the city helped raise awareness of Visit Istanbul by hosting four social media fashion celebrities -- Laura Comolli from Italy, Barbora Ondrackova from the Czech Republic, Michèle Krusi from Switzerland and Simla Canpolat from Turkey -- for a three-day visit during which they toured Istanbul and shared images with their followers. The city is hosting a similar visit this week for travel celebrities, including Jeniffer Tuffen from England, Dotz Soh from Singapore and Umit Yoruk from Turkey.
It's an effort aimed at helping the country capitalize on something of a tourism comeback that it has been enjoying. In 2018, the European Travel Commission reported that Turkey had the largest tourism increase among 33 European countries; the annual number of visitors, it said, increased by 22 percent last year over 2017, to 46.1 million.
Istanbul is clearly at the center of the action, with one in three visitors to Turkey saying they preferred the city to other Turkish destinations, the European Travel Commission reported.
For more information about the Visit Istanbul campaign, visit its website or follow it on Twitter.