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Half of Turkey tourists visit Istanbul, figures show

Nearly half of all people taking a holiday in Turkey so far in 2012 have visited Istanbul, new figures have shown.

Leaders of the Istanbul Culture and Tourism Directorate have confirmed that almost 48 per cent of all travellers to the country have made an effort to see the fascinating city, Hurriyet Daily News reports.

More than 980,000 tourists went to Turkey in February 2012, of which around 494,000 spent some time in Istanbul.

Visitor numbers grew even more sharply in March, with 659,826 people taking in famous sites such as the Bosphorus Bridge, Blue Mosque and Taksim Square.

It is not surprising that Istanbul's popularity is soaring, as the metropolis holds numerous high-profile events throughout the year, including art and theatre festivals.

As you would expect of a city with more than 12 million residents, there is no shortage of things to do and places to see. Its rich culture and warm climate also make it a very appealing holiday destination.