“I think I am going to have a problem from now on, because once you are used to Istanbul, everything else just disappoints”, an expat partner told me recently. “Can you imagine a better ‘shopper’s paradise’ than Istanbul? I never buy anything in other countries anymore. When I go shopping for clothes, the selection is incredible and there are many price ranges to choose from. You can buy t-shirts for two dollars and handbags for 5,000 dollars.”
Everyone can share her experience in the coming weeks as Istanbul is getting ready for its first shopping festival, the İstanbul Shopping Fest (İSF), to be held for 40 days between March 18 and April 26.
Tourists will join the excitement. Not only for the huge discounts and longer shopping hours but for tax-free shopping up to 30 percent during the festival as well. During the festival there will be numerous spectacular shows, concerts and parties.
The shopping extravaganza will kick off with a grand opening on Sultanahmet Square. Istiklal Street will see a parade with 600 musicians. Artists and retailers will cooperate to give store windows and streets a new festive look.
Organizers hope to contribute to the aim of making Istanbul a world brand. They say they want to attract thousands of extra tourists to the fest, aiming to lure 10 million visitors by 2015. Between March 18 and April 26 religious and national holidays like the Persian New Year ‘Nevruz’ and Easter will be celebrated, enabling many people to go on vacation.
Between March 18 and April 26.