Cruising Press Releases

Galataport Istanbul’s Chief Port Officer, Figen Ayan, Announced As MedCruise President

Galataport Istanbul's Chief Port Officer, Figen Ayan, Announced As MedCruise President, 2021-2024

 NEW YORK, NY (November 9, 2021) – Figen Ayan, the Chief Port Officer for Galataport Istanbul, was named the new president of the Association of the Mediterranean Cruise Ports (MedCruise) at the association’s 59th general assembly last week in Barcelona, Spain. The first Turkish woman to assume MedCruise’s senior leadership title, Ayan will serve as president for 2021-2024 in a key role representing 140 cruise ports from 21 countries and key stakeholders related to the cruise business in the Mediterranean and its adjoining seas.


Ayan succeeds Aris Batsoulis, Head of Technical Services & Development Director – PFSO of Corfu Port Authority, who completed a year-long term and will continue serving the MedCruise as Honorary President. Born in Paris, Ayan is a French and Turkish citizen and graduated from La Sorbonne – Paris IV in 1994. She has served as the Chief Port Officer at Galataport Istanbul since February 2014 and has been an acting MedCruise Board Member since 2011, serving as director of professional development on the board of the association, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary.


“I love the cruise industry, for its resilience, its creativity, its openness and many more reasons capsuled in my over 27-years career. It is a true honor and privilege to represent 140 boutique and marquee cruise ports from 21 countries in the Mediterranean and its adjoining seas as the President of MedCruise Association for the 2021-2024 mandate,” said Ayan. “Together with the board of directors, the port and associate members, we act as ambassadors of our ports, our industry and countries for a harmonious atmosphere along with our port and associate members. We collaborate to achieve the environmental goals for the good of our planet and future generations. We are a strong and beautiful mosaic of cultures, civilisations, who shape in a subtle, deep and humble manner the cruise industry.”


Ayan started her professional life in the cruise industry in 1994 at ITS (International Travel Services) company and continued her tourism career in 1999 with Tura Tourism as its Aegean Region Manager. She has been a Ministry of Culture and Tourism professional tourist guide, licensed in the French and English languages, since 1997. Following Tura Tourism, she acted as the Marketing and Communications Manager of Global Investment Holdings until 2005. For a six-month period, Ayan worked at Arkas-MSC as Port Management Manager for Turkey and started back at Global Investment Holdings’ subsidiary company Global Ports Holding in 2006 as the Marketing Director of Kusadasi, Bodrum and Antalya cruise ports. She actively contributed to the Business Development department of the company to acquire and insert the cruise ports of Barcelona-Spain and Lisbon-Portugal to their portfolio.


Today, Ayan is the Chief Port Officer for the newly opened Galataport Istanbul, featuring the world’s first underground cruise ship terminal with a unique hatch system that creates a temporary customs area while a ship is in port. The $1.7 billion Galataport Istanbul project is designed to revive and redefine Istanbul’s historic port as an exciting lifestyle destination and is projected to welcome 25 million visitors per year.


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About Galataport Istanbul


Covering 1.2 km of coastline on Bosphorus, Galataport Istanbul is one of the world’s most prominent projects with an investment cost of $1.7 billion. Galataport Istanbul brings together several functions in a single project, which makes it unique not only in Turkey but also worldwide. The project hosts the world’s first underground cruise ship terminal with a unique hatch system, connected to an underground terminal, both of which have already received great global praise. Thanks to this innovation, Karakoy’s unique coastline will be open to public access after 200 years and become one of the most special promenades of Istanbul. Galataport Istanbul welcomes residents and visitors of Istanbul as an iconic intersection of the old and the new. Accessible and low-rise buildings, neighborhood concept in harmony with the historical texture of the area, and alternative means of transport among other amenities of the project offer its guests a breath of fresh air in a healthy and safe spot for art and culture, shopping, gastronomy and working. Heritage buildings within the project site have been restored to embellish the city once again. The oldest building on the pier, the Paket Postanesi (The Post Office Fashion Galleria) will be a landmark of the project with its characteristic slated roofs and exterior facades. Three heritage buildings, namely the Merkez Han, Karakoy Passenger Terminal and Çinili Han are also undergoing restorations to serve as the location of the Peninsula Istanbul hotel. Part of the Peninsula Hotels brand, which has investments in 10 prestigious locations across the globe, the 177-room Peninsula Istanbul will be situated right across the city’s historical peninsula. Galataport Istanbul houses the finest works of art in Turkey with the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art and Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University Istanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture, both of which are located inside its premises. Also undergoing landscaping work under the project, the historical Tophane Square will be the first museum square of Istanbul. The Tophane Clock Tower located in the center of this square, which dates back to 1848, is renovated with a special technique that involves lifting the tower. Galataport Istanbul is expected to receive 25 million visitors including 7 million foreign guests and also draw about 1.5 million cruise ship passengers and crew to Istanbul.

Visit and follow along on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube at @galataportistanbul.


About MedCruise Association

The mission of MedCruise is to promote the cruise industry in the Mediterranean and its adjoining seas.
The Association assists its members in benefiting from the growth of the cruise industry by providing networking, promotional, as well as professional development opportunities.

Established in Rome on the 11th of June 1996, by a collaborative agreement between 16 ports in seven different countries, the MedCruise membership spreads today in 21 countries, and is located in three different continents, Africa, Asia and Europe. MedCruise represents more than 140 ports and 34 associate members.


Visit and follow along on Instagram @medcruise.official, Facebook and YouTube at @medcruise.