Bidding for Olympic and Paralympic Games, Transportation Investments and Tourism: The Case of Istanbul

Baş A., Delaplace M.

AsTRES-ORME City, Events, Mega-Events and Tourism, Paris, France, 25 - 27 May 2021, pp.15-16

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Paris
  • Country: France
  • Page Numbers: pp.15-16
  • Abdullah Gül University Affiliated: Yes


Since the beginning of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Games (OPG), urban development linked to this mega-event has changed: the mono-stadium model which characterized the first modern Olympic Games has been replaced by an Olympic district model (Liao & Pitts, 2006). Olympic urbanization depends on content, scale, form and complexity. Construction of White City Olympic Stadium is the first urban approaches in London Games in 1908. In the second part of 20th century, games venues and Olympic Villages were dominated the construction and urbanization. At this period, infrastructure investments were limited and not as big as today. With the Rome Olympics (1960), the Games began to have many big consequences on the local built environment – particularly in line with the needs of ur- ban expansion in the 1960s and 1970s, of inner-city regeneration in the 1980s and 1990s and of sustainable urban form in the current decade. There is a distinctive contiguity between Olympic development and the evolution of host cities (Liao & Pitts, 2006). Today, urban development linked to Olympic Games is more important than the sole planning of competition facilities. To a more or less extent, Olympic Games are characterized by urban changes, including new buildings and an Olympic Village. For instance, the Organizing Committee of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has selected a neglected ex-industrial area at Stratford to constructing the Olympic Village and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. It was an opportunity of a more sustainable regeneration for the city expected to be growing Eastwards (Gold & Gold, 2014). Besides, ODA (Olympic Delivery Authority) which is the public part responsible for developing and building new venues and infrastructure for the Games, formed the largest urban park, for over a century in Britain, in collaboration with LOCOG (Ozfiliz, 2012).

Physical or institutional changes in the transport systems also characterized the host cities (Kassens-Noor, 2010). There are investments on urban transport that lead to upgrading the transport system at the local level but also at long distance (Kassens-Noor, 2012): underground lines, light-rail systems, new railway stations, high speed rail, new or improved airport or terminal, city center connection, new and revitalized parks, new-high capacity transport modes, additional road capacity, etc.). Olympics are indeed associated with new transport facilities or improvements of existing transportation infrastructures or services, as was the case in several Olympics. For instance, the first Shinkansen was built for the Olympic Games 1964 in Tokyo. A new 3-4 km rail loop and an Olympic rail station has been built for Sidney. In Athens, new transport infrastructures (motorway, metro, rail connections), have been realized for connecting the historical Athens center to a new international airport; a new light-rail tramway allows to connecting this center with the southern sea coast and some Olympic sites, etc. (Bovy, 2017). But there are also changes in management practices, regulations and institutional policies as the adoption of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), the creation of traffic management centers (TMC), the reorganization of transit routes and the integration of transport modes and tariff systems (Pereira, 2018).

Before bidding investments in transportation are made to be able to compete for the bid- ding. These investments contribute to changing intra-urban mobility, inter-urban mobility and sometimes long-distance mobility. They contribute to improve the accessibility of the city for inhabitants but also for tourists. And even after the non-election decision, some investments which are anticipated are built.

In this paper, we will present the case of Istanbul. Istanbul is a candidate city which applies five times (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2020) for OPG. Before 2012, Istanbul has tried to host OPG four times but unfortunately not won the elections. But hosting OG was one of the main aims of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) according to the 2012-2016 Strategic Plan (Turkish National Olympic Committee, 2012). After the declaration of National Strategic Plan for OPG in 2011, in collaboration with central government, local authority and NOC, Istanbul applied to 2020 OG and competed with Madrid and Tokyo. The 5th application for 2020 is the most well and comprehensive prepared process compare to other applications which indicates that Turkey really wants to host the Games. It was really the first time which Istanbul well prepared compare to other applications. Istanbul gets ready to host the OPG from the point of transportation infrastructure, tourism, history, hospitality, sport activity areas etc. Istanbul lost the election for 2020 games against Tokyo but the investments for OG were constructed or still under construction process. Istanbul still continues to improve its knowledge, infrastructure and human capacity not only for OPG, but also to be a global city. Thus, bidding for big events such as OPG induce investments and directly or indirectly impact the economic activities, in particular tourism facilities whatever be the result of the bidding process.