By Tom Degun

IstanbulNovember 22 - The Istanbul 2020 Olympic and Paralympic bid team has promised to adopt the best of London 2012 following the official debriefing of this summer's Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Istanbul 2020 sent a senior delegation to the debriefing where they gathered key insights from London 2012 that they feel can help them capitalise on Turkey's growing event-hosting experience and significant infrastructure investment.

"Istanbul is a bustling metropolis spanning two continents," said Istanbul 2020 bid leader Hasan Arat.

"But in 2020 we will still be able to offer athletes average travel times of 20 minutes or less.

"These ambitious infrastructure developments show our country's determination to deliver on all our promises to the Olympic family and match London's organisational excellence.

"The strength of Turkey's economy and the committed support from all levels of Government mean we are better placed than ever to realise our vision."

london 2012 ceremonyThe Istanbul 2020 Olympic and Paralympic bid team believes it can emulate the successful London 2012 Games

The London 2012 debriefing in Rio comes just after a number of major transport and tourism projects were announced in Istanbul as part of the city's long-term development strategy.

Work will begin on Istanbul's third airport in 2014 and, with six runways and a passenger capacity which could reach 150 million per year, it is set to be the world's largest airport by 2020.

Meanwhile, October 2013 will see the opening of the Haliç metro across the Golden Horn, which will carry an estimated one million passengers every day.

In addition, a new metro line with a capacity of 70,000 passengers per hour in each direction was completed earlier this year which has removed 572 buses, 1,227 minibuses and thousands of cars from the roads.

Istanbul has now invested an average of $1.2 billion (£752 million/€944 million) on transport infrastructure upgrades every year for the last seven years with billions more spent on general infrastructure.

Istanbul's hotel room inventory has also grown from 26,000 rooms in 2004 to 63,000 and it is estimated the city will have an inventory of over 96,000 hotel rooms by 2020.

The Turkish city is bidding against Madrid in Spain and Tokyo in Japan for the right to stage the 2020 Olympic and Paralympics.

The winner will be announced by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at its Session in Buenos Aires on September 7 next year.

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