The Aegean İzmir will reach over 500,000 cruise passengers by the end of the year, said the head of Turkey Cruise Platform Ekrem Demirtaş via written statement.
The city hosted some 2.6 million cruise tourists between 2004 and 2012, and annually aims to reach 2 million cruise tourists.
“We were questioning as to why cruise ships were not visiting Turkey a decade ago. We found that city tolls and port fees were incredibly high. We have worked a lot to make the Alsancak Port more passenger friendly with the contribution of our Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım,” he said.
Then, the cruise company Costa brought its newly built ship, Coast Mediterranea to İzmir in 2004.
“This was huge for us. İzmir has hosted over 2.6 million cruise tourists between 2004 and 2012,” he said, adding the city’s target was to reach 2 million cruise tourists annually.
The number of cruise ships visiting Turkey was 887, carrying a total of 582,000 passengers in 2003. The figures hit 1,623 cruise ships, carrying 2.2 million passengers as of the end of 2011.
Cruise ship tourism, which attracts people of high income, has grown about 10 percent every year.
Hürriyet Daily News