The Marmaray Tunnel

By | Category: Travel destinations, Travel news

The Bosphorus bridge has a rival from today

Today at 1pm our time, the Marmaray Tunnel opens for railway traffic in Turkey linking the European and Asiatic continents. It will relieve pressure on the two bridges which – apart from ferries – has been the only way to see all of Istanbul and it will make it easier for travellers and holidaymakers to cross the Bosphorus and get around quickly and comfortably.

That is an important consideration given that Turkey is the sixth most visited country in the world with an ever-increasing rise in those numbers. Once visitors come they need to get around easily so they decide they want to return and, secondly, tell other people how easy it is to visit. And Istanbul is the premier destination for visitors.

During the work on the tunnel, 40,000 objects were excavated from the site, including 30 Byzantine vessels, the largest known medieval fleet, some of which will feature in a new marine museum called Arkeopark in the Yenikapi Hundred Islands providing visitors with yet another attraction in Istanbul.

In the future this may be the start of a railway journey from Istanbul to China relieving the days of the medieval Silk Route with all the glamour that that conjures.

Up until the end of last month 38.36 million people had visited Turkey this year and, of those, 2.12 million have been Brits – an increase of over 40,000 on last year. By the end of the year the magic 2.5 million figure will have been breached as, once again, Turkey has proven to be a hotspot for half-term holidays.

Just as the tunnel has been an ambitious growth project like the new Istanbul airport before it, Turkey has ambitious plans to get more of us to travel there and last month CD-Traveller explored some of the reasons why Turkey attracts us so much. In the next ten years they want to achieve 50 million visitors and that will mean they want an extra million or so from the UK and Ireland. Some of that achievement will come from persuading us to travel in winter months from November until March since many Brits look on Turkey as a summer beach destination rather than an all-year destination like the Canaries.

Will they succeed? They opened an airport on time; tunnelled under the Bosphorus after 140 years of previous governments just talking about it so encouraging another million of us to go there sounds possible.

For more inormation about Turkey, click here.

Image © Ministry of Culture & Tourism

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