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Bodrum's expanding its out-of-doors tourism with agricultural destinations

Olive oil

In a country rich with plants and crops, the only surprising thing about Turkey's foray into agricultural tourism is that it hadn't been done earlier.

Famous throughout the world for its citrus fruit, seeds, nuts and oils, Turkey's produce is now gaining a measure of fame among visitors looking for socially-distanced tourist activities.

Bodrum is at the forefront of the agritourism movement, and the municipality is working to attract more than a million extra visitors through the new avenue.

Bodrum Promotion Foundation Ahmet Aras said a revolution was underway in Bodrum. "We aim to diversify tourism by integrating tourism and agriculture," he said.

With plenty of "high value-added products", the municipality has begun work on creating an ecological and agricultural tourism environment, Aras said.

In Bodrum, tourism opportunities will be created around products like ancient wheat seeds, medicinal and aromatic plants, mandarin, grapes and olive oil.

Take the mandarin, Aras explained. As well as a favourite snack, the essence of the citrus fruit is used to produce cologne. And then there's olive oil: the peninsula's olive oil production goes back 3000 years, and its olive oil factories go back hundreds of years.

Spending time in these facilities will be informative and interesting to tourists looking for an alternative to a beach holiday, he said.

And these destinations fit with our new climate, he added.

"Due to the pandemic, people now want to go to gardens and farms. The trend toward organic products has increased a lot since the global (coronavirus) outbreak."

Bodrum already welcomes 1.5 million foreign visitors each year. With these new ventures, and a few others, they're expecting to add one million to that figure, Aras said.

"Bodrum is not just sea, sand and sun; we have started to work on nature, agriculture, gastronomy and sports tourism," he added.

By diversifying tourism, the current annual earnings of $1.5bn will increase by as much as 50 percent over the next decade. 

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