Turkey expects finance tourism to contribute $11 billion annually


ISTANBUL, Turkey – While talking about the construction of the Istanbul International Finance Center (IIFC) in Istanbul’s Ataşehir district on the Asian side to supplement its Levent and Maslak districts on the European side, Ağaoğlu Group CEO Önder Halisdemir said they expect finance tourism, which is a consequence of the establishment of the financial center, will contribute approximately $11 billion annually to the tourism sector, which is currently worth $35 billion.

Speaking at the World Tourism Forum (WTF) on finance tourism, Halisdemir stressed that the harmonization of the tourism, finance and construction sectors is important for a sustainable economy. Citing Frankfurt, Singapore and Dubai as good examples of finance tourism, Halisdemir emphasized that the finance sector attracts buyers, as money is the tool that leads people to finance centers. As a result, tourism grows in these centers and adds high value to the tourism sector of the host countries.

“As a result of the establishment of finance infrastructure, Dubai has become an international actor,” Halisdemir said. “Our object is that through the Istanbul International Finance Center [in Ataşehir] we [Ağaoğlu Group] will build on a 3.2 million-square-meter area, which will result in the employment of 50,000 people, and Istanbul too will become an international actor. With the establishment of the IIFC, we estimate that around 1,500 finance firms will be operating … [Consequently, in numerical terms,] it is possible to achieve a finance tourism input of at least $11 billion via 5,625,000 visitors. In this respect, to achieve this input, it is crucial to proclaim Ataşehir, where the IIFC is being built, as a free-finance region.”

Halisoglu added that major financial institutions in Turkey such as the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT), Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK), Ziraat Bank, Halkbank, VakıfBank, as well as other nonbank financial institutions will relocate to Ataşehir once the new financial center is built.