Turkey - the country of dreams...

Istanbul International Conference Centre

Turkey - the name on its own conjures up visions of oriental splendour, mystery and intrigue. This was the country of sultans, harems, opulent palaces and the mighty Ottomans. The meeting point of three of the world's greatest civilisations: Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman; former centre of Christendom; the crossroads of Asia and Europe: this is a unique country.

A land half as old as time, an exotic mixture of ancient and modern; an exciting country with old traditions and modern ideas. A land of harmonious contracts and contradictions. Since the beginning of time this land of mountain ranges, high plateaux and fertile river valleys has been the dividing line between the Orient and the Occident.

Today's Turkey is a safe, modern, secular and western-oriented country with a booming economy. A modern world in a historic setting. The nation looks boldly towards the future, embracing the role of being not the dividing line between East and West, but the bridge between them.

Whenever you go to Turkey, you will be greeted and cared for with genuine warmth and generosity, for the tradition of Turkish hospitality declares that every traveller is a guest of God. Here you will find people who enjoy life and are eager to share their optimism with you. Here is a country where graceful minarets are silhouetted against the horizon, where ancient churches covered in fragrant honeysuckle stand unannounced next to the shimmering waters of the Aegean, where weather-worn monuments bear witness to 4,000 years of history. All these experiences in one single country.

Turkey is a country with incredible geographic diversity, a modern infrastructure for the tourism industry, a rich cultural and historical heritage, competitively priced accommodation and top class facilities for travellers. It's a gateway to a world of possibilities. Turkey has adopted policies for the geographical distribution of tourism activities throughout the country. Eco and adventure tours, senior citizen programmes, health tourism, convention and incentive packages. The warmth of traditional Turkish hospitality, and the endless opportunities for entertainment and sightseeing, guarantee that any meeting organised in Turkey is an ideal incentive destination, and an excellent venue for meetings, incentives and conventions. Doing business with Turkey means repeating business with Turkey.

Istanbul - a city of timeless treasures...

The magical city of Istanbul, the only city in the world built on two continents, is one of the most fascinating and exciting cities you could hope to visit. The two continents of Europe and Asia meet and embrace here across the Bosphorus straits, carrying with them unique flavours of Orient and Occident. Since the dawn of time, Istanbul has been a meeting place of peoples from different religions and cultures, people who came together and learned to live in peace and harmony. A thriving, forward-looking metropolis, Istanbul is at the heart of business, commercial, cultural and social circles of Turkey. The accommodation is first class, offering all the services and facilities you would expect from luxury hotels; the views, however, are special to Istanbul. Everywhere you turn in the city you are faced with living history. There is so much to do here that you will never know where to start, and you will never come close to seeing it all. The historical mosques, ancient churches, Grand Bazaar, Spice Market, palaces, Castles, underground cisterns, parks... the list is endless. Istanbul is the ideal destination for exciting and fruitful congresses and meetings.

Istanbul Convention and Exhibition Centre

Meetings in Istanbul are memorable and fantastic. Meet with success at ICEC...

In the past, if you wanted to host a successful conference in Istanbul, there was not much to choose from. Now there is. With the official opening of ICEC in September, convention planners have gained a new venue in which to organise successful events, just at the junction of Europe and Asia. From European centres, this is an ideal destination: exotic, but conveniently close. Flying times are only two or three hours by Turkish Airlines or other international carriers into Istanbul. Daily connections link Istanbul to all major cities in the United States, the Middle East and Asia.

The International Conference Centre will give event organisers from around the globe a central venue for conventions. This congress centre is ideally located in the modern business district of Harbiye, in the very heart of the city, at the centre of the city's business, cultural and commercial life. With its 21 meeting rooms of varying sizes, whether for a meeting of 20 or for a conference with 2,000 delegates, ICEC is dedicated to turning every event into a success. It is surrounded by 16 hotels housing 3,400 bedrooms, all within walking distance. The centre is designed to meet the needs of the world's most modern congress requirements, with facilities such as simultaneous interpretation facilities in 12 languages, an electronic voting system and live television and broadcasting facilities... Turkey's largest congress centre has a magnificent auditorium accommodating up to 2,000 guests. The total capacity of the entire centre is 5,000 guests. With its well educated staff, latest technical equipment, five star in-house catering service and professional management, ICEC is in a class of its own, setting the standards of the 21st century in its field.

Sinan Bilsel, General Manager of the new Istanbul Convention and Exhibition Centre (ICEC), views the facility as "an absolute beauty, a real asset for this city".

Trained in hotel management in Germany and Spain, Bilsel worked in the industry in these countries and in Turkey until 1978, when he went to Australia. There he was involved in establishing the systems and operations for the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, and was its General Manager for six years. He was also the consultant on the design and organisation of the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. In Taiwan he was a special consultant to the government in redesigning the operations and management of the newly-opened convention centre there. When the Istanbul Convention Centre offer surfaced in late 1995, he gladly accepted the opportunity to return to his own country.

Located in the heart of the city, within walking distance of many of Istanbul's leading five star hotels, the centre was first used in June 1996 when 25,000 people descended on Istanbul over a two week period for the UN Conference on Human Settlements, the HABITAT II City Summit. A series of 14 international meetings and other events are scheduled for between September and December.

Mr Bilsel says: "First of all, Istanbul as a city naturally draws incentives. Second, at the ICEC we offer them very flexible facilities at prices 15-20 per cent under hotel prices for meeting space. We also have a very beautiful terrace which can seat up to 1,500 people. In summer it's an absolute paradise, with a gorgeous view of the city and the Bosphorus. One of the biggest advantages for meeting and conference organisers is our five star in-house catering service. In addition, I have never seen more up-to-date and completely equipped technical facilities in any other convention centre."