‘Inferno’ a great opportunity to revive Turkey’s tourism: Association
ISTANBUL“Inferno,” Ron Howard’s new movie starring Tom Hanks and based on Dan Brown’s 2013 bestseller, could be an opportunity to revive Turkey’s struggling tourism sector and to lure more foreign tourists, Hoteliers Association of Turkey (TÜROB) President Timur Bayındır has said.
The film, which premiered in Florence on Oct. 8, was released in Turkey on Oct. 14, and Istanbul’s historic peninsula plays a significant role in the plot, particularly the historic Basilica Cistern.
Bayındır said sector players were hopeful of a boost in interest after a difficult year for the Turkish tourism industry.
“This movie will make a great contribution to the promotion of Istanbul and Turkey by fueling people’s attention to the historic spots shown in the movie,” he said in a written statement on Oct. 17.
The TÜROB head noted that Istanbul was among the rising stars of global tourism until recently. The number of foreign arrivals to Turkey declined to 17.4 million in the first eight months of the year, a decrease of around 32 percent from the same period of 2015, due to several terror attacks, a failed military coup attempt and political tension with Russia.
“Hotel occupancy rates have now dropped to around 30 percent in Istanbul. We have seen a big plunge in the number of arrivals from Europe. We must use any opportunities that will enable us to revive attention for Istanbul again and show that Istanbul is a safe destination. ‘Inferno’ may be one of these opportunities,” said Bayındır.
He noted that previous movies adapted from Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons” had created serious hype for countries where those movies were shot.
In order to prevent any damage to the historic structure of the Basilica Cistern, the scenes featuring it were shot in a film studio in Budapest for “Inferno.”
The Basilica Cistern, which has been included in a number of films over the years, also hosted some scenes of the latest James Bond series “Skyfall” as well as Australian actor Russell Crowe’s film “The Water Diviner.”
The plot of “Inferno” begins in Florence before moving to Sienna and on to Istanbul, where the hero of the book, Robert Langdon, played by Tom Hanks in the film, makes a key discovery in the Basilica Cistern, located just southwest of the Hagia Sophia.