2.5 million tourists getting off the cruise

Located in the Mediterranean basin, Türkiye is quite ambitious in cruise tourism. Türkiye aims to host over 2.5 million cruise tourists in 2022.

Surrounded by seas on three sides and positioned in the Mediterranean basin, Türkiye is attractive for cruise tourism. The easing of the pandemic measures and Galataport’s opening will boost the number of guests’ visits to Türkiye.

Cruise ships could not board Türkiye during the first five months of the past year due to the Covid-19 measures. The easing of the pandemic measures at the beginning of summer and thanks to the safe tourism policy, 51 cruise ships boarded to 6 cruise ports in Türkiye during June-October. The number of tourists hosted only in October reached eight thousand.


This year over 650 ships and 1 million passengers are expected to be hosted in Kuşadası - the province with the highest number of cruise passengers. Already 250 cruises made their bookings to Istanbul. 1.5 million people, including the crews, are expected to board at Istanbul Galataport. Considering the other ports of call, 850-900 ships and more than 2.5 million passengers are projected to travel to Türkiye.


Planning to become one of the home ports of cruise tourism, Türkiye aims to reach its peak with the opening of Galataport Istanbul. Istanbul, Antalya and Izmir are on top of the cities with the highest potential to become a home port. The beginning and ending points of the journey are named ‘home ports’ in the cruise sector.

Compared to the money spent during the excursions of the transit passengers, the shopping and dining expenses of the cruise passengers who start their journey from the home port and end it at this point are four times the money spent by the transit passengers during their day-trips, and eight times the expenses of other tourists arriving at the city by other means. Additionally, such cruise tourists make accommodation and flight expenses.


The Porthole Cruise Magazine, one of the USA’s most notable cruise travel magazines, announced the ‘Readers’ Selection Awards’ of 2022. The magazine has been organizing this traditional award ceremony for 22 years. The ‘Best Mediterranean Cruise Destination’ award has been granted to Türkiye in the category of best destinations. Türkiye’s favourite card in cruise tourism is the Galataport Istanbul which won the ‘Eastern Mediterranean MedCruise port showing the greatest commitment during the pandemic.’ Galataport Istanbul started to host cruise ships as of spring 2021. Thanks to the hatch system, a first of its kind globally, the terminal with 29 thousand square meters were constructed underground. The port will be a centre of attraction covering all aspects of life from gastronomy to arts and new-generation ­shopping to entertainment.


With investment worth US$ 1.7 billion, Galataport Istanbul remains in an area that covers 1.2km of the coastline by the Bosporus. Galataport Istanbul positioned as a ‘home port’ among the world’s most significant destination projects, can serve three ships and 15 thousand passengers per day. When no ships are berthed at the port, the hatch system separates the customs and security (ISPS) areas and creates a temporary customs area to keep the coastline open to public access.


Türkiye is a hidden paradise for all passenger ships. In Turkish harbours, international

passenger ships prefer anchoring in Istanbul in the Marmara coast, Kuşadası, Marmaris, Bodrum and Izmir in the Aegean coast; at Sinop and Trabzon in the Black Sea coast.


Figen Ayan, Chief Port Officer of Galataport Istanbul responsible for leading port operations, has been elected as the first Turkish President of MedCruise Association, representing 140 cruise ports in the Mediterranean basin. In addition to Galataport, Kuşadası, Bodrum, Antalya, Alanya and Trabzon cruise ports remain among the member ports in Türkiye. MedCruise Association’s executive board comprises twelve members. MedCruise Association gets its power from the diversity of the members originating from Spain to Greece, France to Romania and Türkiye and the blend of different cultures on the board.

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