The famed Turkish resort town of Bodrum wants to attract roughly 1.5 million international tourists this year, surpassing even pre-COVID-19 levels, according to its mayor.
The city, which is located on the Aegean coast in Mugla province, had received 1.3 million foreign visitors before arrivals plummeted to just 530,000 in the middle of the outbreak in 2020.
Mayor, Ahmet Aras, stated that Bodrum's population had nearly tripled during this time, with summer visitors living the entire year there, despite tourism losses caused by the pandemic.
Aras said that life had begun to return to normal in many locations as restrictions continued to be eased, and that Bodrum, like the rest of the globe, had suffered a major loss of international tourists.
Tourism looking up
Aras stated that all tourism locations have begun to recover, and that Bodrum is off to a strong start in 2022. He predicted that cruise ships, which have been absent from Bodrum for the past two years, will number 150 in 2022, bringing 206,000 international guests to the town.
He claimed that ferry services from the Greek islands have begun, and that direct flights are in high demand. He said: "In other words, the number of tourists arriving by sea and air in 2022 will outnumber those arriving in 2019. This year, we'll welcome around 1.5 million overseas visitors."
Hotspots hoping to repeat 2019 revenue
While several tourism hotspots are aiming to beat their 2019 numbers in 2023, Bodrum, he said, would surpass them this year, becoming the Mediterranean's top visitor destination.
According to him, half of the international tourists who visited the town last year came from Russia and Ukraine, however their numbers may decline this year due to the fighting.
Increased interest from where?
"However, when we look at other countries and markets, we notice a phenomenal growth in interest, particularly from the United Kingdom, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Poland, and the Gulf countries," he continued.
Bodrum Airport receives direct flights from 86 cities in 35 countries, with 49 different airlines bringing in passengers, according to Aras. New direct flights from Albania, Kuwait, Qatar, Dubai, and Russia will begin by the end of the summer, he said.
Work is continuing in various categories, including nature, gastronomic, winter, and sports tourism, to diversify the town's tourism economy, according to the mayor.
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