by Camille Gardeur
This Saturday, June 10, 2023, Istanbul is preparing to host the UEFA Champions League final between Manchester City and Inter Milan. This highly anticipated event is generating great excitement among the city’s residents, as well as local businesses, hoteliers, and various travel agencies. Beyond the sporting aspect, the final offers significant tourism and economic advantages to the city of Istanbul, which has become a highly sought-after destination for football fans from around the world.
Istanbul attracts millions of visitors every year thanks to its rich history, culture and vibrant urban life. With its historic monuments, mosques, animated bazaars and delicious cuisine, the city offers a unique tourist experience. This year, in June, there is one more reason to visit this magnificent city: the UEFA Champions League Final. Hosting this event has obviously has driven Istanbul onto the international stage, offering an unprecedented opportunity to promote the city as an attractive tourist destination for the rest of the world.
Istanbul is taking advantage of this event and the increasing arrival of tourists during this period to highlight its tourist attractions, cultural heritage, and warm hospitality. The city’s initial aim is to encourage fans who have come to support their favorite team to extend their stay and discover Istanbul’s cultural and historical wonders for a few days, but also to reach out and attract new travelers in the future. « I came to Istanbul for the Champions League final, and it’s my first time here, so my friend and I are taking the opportunity to stay for almost a week to explore the city » , says Andrea, an Italian who came to support Inter Milan.
The tourist impact will be direct with people who have come especially for the event. Serhat, a waiter at a local bar/restaurant in the Besiktas district explains : « As a waiter in a restaurant located in a lively district of Istanbul, I am really excited about the Champions League final. I have already noticed many foreigners in the past few days, soI imagine it’s because of the final. » However, the extensive media coverage of the event, including images and reports on the final and the city itself, being broadcast on television and social networks, will allow Istanbul to gain international visibility and generate the interest of many potential travellers. This will contribute to strengthening the city’s reputation as an attractive and trendy travel destination.
The benefits for the city go beyond mere international visibility. This global event, attracting thousands of visitors from around the world, will also generate significant economic impact for Istanbul. Hotels, bars, restaurants, as well as businesses throughout the city, will be the first to benefit from the massive influx of tourists, both during the event and in the months to come. We can already observe an increase in hotel room reservations during this final period. Aysel, a receptionist at the Marmaray Hotel, affirms, « The Champions League final has stimulated tourist interest in Istanbul, and thanks to this we have an increase in bookings directly linked to the Champions League final. » Furthermore, the spending of supporters and other tourists will also benefit restaurants, various businesses, and transport, providing a strong boost to the local economy, which is currently facing a crisis.
Lastly, the economic impact will not be limited to just the period of the final. Indeed, many merchants anticipate a long-term impact on the local economy thanks to the media visibility of the city. They aim to leverage the excitement generated by the Champions League final to attract more tourists, promote the city, and create memorable experiences for their customers. Aysel says, « Thanks to this event we want to attract more tourists, increase our reputation, and stimulate long-term tourism in the region. » Therefore, it is expected that the economic benefits will extend beyond the immediate event, contributing to the sustained growth and development of the local economy.
The UEFA Champions League final in Istanbul offers a multitude of tourism and economic benefits for the city. By attracting thousands of passionate supporters from all around the world, it not only generated economic impact, but also provided an exceptional platform to promote Istanbul as a top tourist destination. Through this media exposure, Istanbul was able to attract the attention of potential travelers, encouraging them to explore its rich cultural heritage, historic sites and culinary scene. The Champions League final not only represents a significant moment for football but also an opportunity for Istanbul to shine and thrive economically.