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Beleaguered Istanbul drops 94 places in ICCA rankings

City has fallen 125 places in two years as it struggles to attract international associations

Pictured: Istanbul

Istanbul’s standing as a major destination for international association meetings was in tatters today as latest figures suggest its popularity with conference goers has collapsed.

For years the Turkish city proudly occupied a top-10 position in ICCA’s annual city rankings, which record the number of rotating association meetings held in cities around the world.

But alarm bells rang last year when the city dropped 31 places to 39th in the rankings, hosting just 62 meetings, compared with 148 in 2015. Now the situation looks far more serious.

The latest statistics show Istanbul has dropped another 94 places to 133, having hosted just 20 international association meetings in 2017, putting it on a par with Marrakech, Poznan, and Lund.

Ongoing conflict in neighbouring Syria, reports of mass purges, terrorist attacks, and what many see as a power grab by President Erdogan, appear to have damaged the country’s credibility.

ICCA has been doing all it can to support Istanbul. In March this year it held a strategic board meeting in the city with ICCA president Nina Freysen-Pretorius describing the city as a ‘destination not to be missed for international association meetings’.

The Istanbul Convention Bureau has been asked for comment.

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