We can't say it's much of a surprise that the much-loved tourist hotspot Bodrum has made Time Magazine's list of the world's 100 greatest places.
The southwestern town in Turkey's Mugla province is often known as the St Tropez of Turkey. Time has also billed it a a "Riviera on the rise", a nod to its ascension from a collection of sleepy fishing villages to a tourism hub, home to a number of swanky resorts and celebrity haunts, as well as authentic Turkish life.
The Time Magazine column name-checked Yalikavak's Palmarina, which attracts billionaires like Bill Gates and Roman Abramovich. Bodrum Castle also rated a mention. The 600-year-old medieval fortification recently opened again after several years of restoration.
Other towns that made the list included Cannes, London, Helsinki, Ljubljana and Madrid.
Pandemic fails to put the brakes on Bodrum's progress
According to Bodrum mayor Ahmet Aras, investment and interest in this bustling peninsula remains high despite the pandemic.
Ongoing infrastructure projects are adding value to Bodrum, and prominent companies from the US, Germany and the UK have bought up resort hotels and revamped them.
Each cohort of foreign visitors brought with it its own interests and spending, he said. Some gravitated to cultural attractions, while others liked the peninsula's sporting opportunities.
"Russians are mostly interested in sports tourism, especially ice hockey, which is at the project stage now," he said.
Agricultural tourism is a burgeoning sector for the peninsula, he said. The cultivation of olives, wheat and grapes has been ongoing for thousands of years, now, these crops, along with medicinal and aromatic plants, will attract a new breed of tourists, interested in a different view of the area.
Tourism and property in Bodrum
The pandemic caused a surge of interest in Bodrum property, as citizens of large cities like Istanbul looked for an alternative away from the urban hustle and bustle. There are also significant numbers of overseas tourists eyeing up investment and lifestyle opportunities in the town.
Like everywhere else, Bodrum took a hit when the pandemic brought an abrupt end to tourism, seeing a 90% fall in the number of visitors. However, numbers are climbing again, and the summer season has stretched further to accommodate visitors who had to delay due to pandemic conditions.
At the moment, occupancy rate for hotels in Bodrum was high, owing to a booming domestic demand, Aras said.
"We expect this trend to continue for some time, as for the months of September and October, which we call ‘yellow summer,’ are [some of] the best times in Bodrum," Aras said.
Aras said over the next few years the peninsula will be improved for visitors.
"We will continue our work ... to make Bodrum the most popular tourist destination in the world," he said.
Perched on a private hillside in Bodrum, this estate offers a range of luxury villas for sale within walking distance to both the central area as well as the marina. These properties feature a striking interior layout and are well worth the tag of luxury homes.