Turkish tourism hotspot attracting more visitors despite pandemic
Famed for its sparkling seas, warm climate, bustling marinas, blue voyage cruises, upmarket tourism, and many other unique features, the touristic hotspot of Bodrum on the Turkish Riviera has continued to attract international tourists and investments despite the pandemic.
“Domestic and foreign investments have been climbing in recent years, and they didn’t slow down during the pandemic,” Ahmet Aras, mayor of the southwestern resort town, has said.
The value of ongoing projects including infrastructure projects in Bodrum has so far topped $5 billion, Aras said, adding that prominent global firms bought idle hotels in the town and revamped them.
“Elite global hotel brands continue to flock to Bodrum,” Aras noted, adding that most of them come from the US, Germany, the Netherlands, and the U.K.
Foreign visitors also show great interest in Bodrum’s active healthcare sector, besides cultural attractions such as exhibitions and congresses, yacht building, and sports complexes.
“Russians are mostly interested in sports tourism, especially ice hockey, which is at the project stage now,” he said.
Luxury yacht building, fisheries, and wineries also play an important role in Bodrum’s economy.
[HH] Endless summer
Pointing to how the pandemic spurred greater demand for housing, Aras highlighted that ground was broken on new real estate projects to keep up with this rising demand.
Aras said that over time tourists who fell in love with holidays in Bodrum started eyeing investment opportunities in the town.
“This peninsula is always open to projects that are in harmony with its environment, identity, and character,” he underlined.
The global tourism sector took a hit from the pandemic, when most planes were grounded, so Bodrum saw a 90 percent fall in the number of foreign visitors through August to 100,000, Aras said.
But before the outbreak began, he said, Bodrum grabbed great attention from the Western Europe, Baltic, Russian, and Ukrainian markets, and it recently saw renewed interest when some thought summer was over.
“Despite the gloomy figures, the summer season, which was supposed to end by Sept. 15, was extended into mid-October,” Aras underlined.
Currently, the occupancy rate at some Bodrum hotels is over 90 percent on the back of booming domestic tourist demand, he explained.
Nearly 10,000 cars entered the town in July, translating to an impressive nearly 30,000 people a day, he said.
The fine weather in Bodrum, its atmosphere, open-air spaces, and spacious houses and villas proved irresistible to many people, especially those who switched to remote working and made a move from large cities.