'If you love Bodrum, make it your home' says Mayor worried about population growth


Summer's over, but Bodrum's holidaymakers are staying put.

When the weather warms up, Turkey's city dwellers -- especially those in Istanbul -- head to the peninsula. Drawn by the beaches, the vibrant nightlife and the upmarket holiday villas and hotels, Bodrum's seasonal draw cards are many.

Only this year, Bodrum's season is yet to wane. Reluctant to head home and wary of further coronavirus lockdowns, city dwellers are hunkering down in their villas, apartments and even hotels.

While officials are pleased about the extra dollars in the pockets of the local shopkeepers, tradespeople and hoteliers, they do have a few concerns.

The current government budget is only sufficient to meet the needs of its permanent population of 170,000. With 400,000 people planning to stay on over the cooler months, they're going to need more funds, they say.

Bodrum escapes the worst of the pandemic

Bodrum got off relatively lightly, says Mayor Ahmet Aras. “We did not have many cases here, and Bodrum remains safe thanks to frequent inspections."

Bodrum's summer population can swell to almost two million. The peninsula didn't host anything like that this year, but once lockdowns ended Istanbul residents and other city dwellers headed to the seaside. Most have gone home, but those who are capable - either retired, or working from home -- are staying on. 

And the population could swell if the government decides (as has been discussed) to close schools and continue with remote education.

This is something the municipality might need to consider in the future, as the pandemic shifts the goalposts of what a working and schooling life looks like. 

One solution is having holidaymakers move their civil register records to Bodrum. 

“If you love Bodrum, you should really be a resident of Bodrum,” Aras said. 

If greater numbers of residents are recorded, Bodrum can apply for more government funds, allowing them to invest in the necessary infrastructure to cope with a larger population.


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