Istanbul, already one of Europe’s top city break destinations boasting a spectacular year-on-year increase of 46.68% foreign visitors to Istanbul in the first quarter of 2012; is now also a must-visit shopping destination.

Launched last year to international acclaim, this year’s Istanbul Shopping Festival aims to become one of the largest and most exciting shopping events in the world. From June 9-29, enjoy 21 days of shopping, culture and entertainment across the city and take advantage of 50% discount offered on an assortment of products ranging from the latest fashions to top technology.

More than 90 participating shopping locations ranging from the historic and iconic Grand Bazaar to the sophisticated shopping malls and chic shopping will be hosting round-the-clock shopping, as well as street festivals, live concerts and performances, parties, surprise “text message” competitions and, of course, fashion shows. And foreign visitors can enjoy tax-free shopping up to 30 percent.

Across the city

Under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Governor of Istanbul, the Shopping Fest will showcase many upcoming Turkish brands available in such shopping hubs as Taksim, Nisantasi, Sisli, Bakirkoy, Fatih, Bahariye and Bagdat Avenue in a city which has more than 100 state-of-the-art shopping centres.

Festival by numbers

Istanbul’s first shopping festival was launched in 2011 with an investment of 50 million Turkish Liras and five million visitors, resulting in a 41% increase in the retail trade volume for that period. The aim this year is for an increase of 50% in the retail trade volume and millions of interested visitors again.

Ankara follows suit

Inspired by Istanbul’s shopping festival success in 2011, Turkey’s capital city Ankara will also hold its own shopping festival on 8 June-1 July. Participating shopping centres and shops will also offer special discounts with many open until midnight on Saturdays. Bringing a carnival atmosphere to the capital city there will be street celebrations, firework and laser displays, fashion shows, folkdancing and other cultural activities.