Istanbul is known the world over as one of the most dynamic capitals on the planet, attracting millions of visitors every year from the Middle East alone. At this year’s ISF, being held from June 9th – 29th, Istanbul will be delighting their visitors with an extensive menu of events and entertainment, in addition to discounts across many retail venues and restaurants. Visiting tourists have the added advantage of getting back a percentage of tax paid on their purchases in Istanbul.

ISF launched from Dubai this year, with a press conference held on Wednesday May 9th at 11:00am at the Address Downtown Hotel, and a cocktail reception held at 12:30 pm in the hotel’s cigar lounge. The event was attended by Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ, known to the Arab world as Mohannad, and Songül Öden, known to Arab fans as Noor. The Turkish stars acted as ambassadors of ISF, and garnered a great deal of attention from their fans and the press. Also in attendance were the Turkish Consul General and Turkish Cultural & Tourism Attaché, in addition to many members of the local press.

This year will mark the second Istanbul Shopping Festival, the first of which was held in 2011, and witnessed an increase of 26% profit, the equivalent of 8 b. TL or 16.7 b. AED. The festival hosted 5 million visitors last, and is sure to draw millions more this year.

Mr. Sedat Gönüllüoğlu- the Dubai Turkish Tourism and Culture Office’s Cultural and Information Attaché- comments: “The Turkish Tourism and Culture Ministry’s official statistics for March 2012 show that there has been an increase of 86.81% of visitors from the United Arab Emirates in 2011, with tourists from Bahrain increasing by 54.38% and those from Qatar by 102.30%”.

Statistics of ISF and Global Blue Data show that tourists from Kuwait increased their expenditure when visiting Turkey between March and April for 2010 and 2011 by 179%. This vast increase is second only to China’s increase of 229%. The United Arab Emirates placed sixth (87%) and Saudi Arabia placed twelfth (36%).