Muğla becomes metropolitan city, signaling changes to tourism
MUĞLA – Anadolu Agency
AA PhotoWith the southwestern province of Muğla recently gaining the status of a metropolitan city, many of its districts have become neighborhoods, heralding changes to the areas touristic character.
Having Turkey’s longest coastline with 1,484 kilometers, Muğla hosts more than 3 million tourists every year thanks to its historical natural beauties, with statesmen, Hollywood stars, and billionaire businesspeople regularly visiting the world famous province.
With Muğla gaining the status of a metropolitan city, Bodrum’s Turgutreis, Gümüşlük, Bitez, Göltürkbükü, Yalı, Ortakent Yahşi, Yalıkavak and Gündoğan; Fethiye’s Ölüdeniz and Göcek; Ortaca’s Dalyan, Marmaris’ Beldibi, İçmeler, Armutalan and Bozburun; Ula’s Akyaka; and Milas’ Güllük district have become “classy” neighborhoods.
Fethiye’s popular district Ölüdeniz is one of the tourist attractions that have become neighborhoods. The area is widely popular among tourists thanks to its coast, beach, sea and Babadağ, which is considered one of the best paragliding centers in the world.
Ula’s Akyaka, which received the title of “Citta Slow” recently, is also now a neighborhood. Akyaka is very popular for daytime excursions among blue voyage travelers for its natural beauties and coves.
KAUNOS ANCIENT CITY
Muğla Metropolitan Mayor Osman Gürün said the tourist season had started earlier this year across Muğla and the hotel occupancy rate was high, adding that the city was witnessing a change with the metropolitan city law. “But this change will not cause the tourism districts to lose their nature and unique features,” Gürün emphasized.
Gürün stressed the importance of diversifying tourism in the region.
“We have to give importance to cultural tourism. Our projects will start in the coming days for this goal. We need to diversify tourism in the sports and health fields and increase the amount of money tourists spend. As well as the tourist number, we need to provide a financial increase. Rather than tourists who spend less money, we need to draw those who spend more,” he added.
Gürün said they would prepare Muğla for the future by making a 20-25 year “tourism master plan,” without spoiling its cultural and historical structure, adding that the goal was to make the city “Turkey’s number one.”
“Muğla has 195 ancient sites and excavations are ongoing in some of them. We are in a very important region in terms of health and sports tourism. We should take advantage of our values, without damaging them. We should make tourism available throughout the year, not only in certain months. We will hold talks with sector representatives about this issue,” he said.
Bodrum Hoteliers Association President Halil Özyurt said the Bodrum peninsula was very popular among holidaymakers, particularly thanks to its Gümbet, Bitez, Yalıkavak, Turgutreis, Türkbükü, Göltürkbükü, Gündoğan, Ortakent, Gümüşlük and Akyarlar neighborhoods.
“Places that host world stars such as Michael Douglas, Zoe Saldana, Pamela Anderson, Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell were districts in the past; now they are neighborhoods. We need to provide the necessary service so that we can host our guests in the best way,” Özyurt said.
He described Bodrum as Turkey’s “window opening to the world” and was a region with 7,000-8,000 years of history and culture. “Bodrum has a unique position in the world. Luxurious hotels, yachts are everywhere in the world, but you rarely see Bodrum’s historical beauties mentioned globally. But once you visit Bodrum, you fall under its spell,” he said.