For a few years now, Turkey has been one of the Mediterranean's rising stars. With its good climate, natural beauty, cultural variety and growing number of facilities for visiting superyachts, there is plenty for visitors to take advantage of. At the centre of Turkey's growing superyacht scene is Palmarina Bodrum. Bought in 2011 and developed by Palmali Holding, it has been operating at full capacity since the summer of 2014 and is fast becoming a hub for superyachts, with yachts like S/Y Maltese Falcon, M/Y Nero, S/Y Vertigo, M/Y Madame Gu and M/Y Amevi all including the marina in their itineraries.
“We love cruising the Turkish coast," says Kadir Esen, the founder of Bodrum's Esenyacht Shipyard and owner of S/Y Glorious. "We like spending time in the Greek Islands and off the west coast of Italy, but Turkey is special.” He and his wife Elena have spent a lot of time sailing in the area as a family and have watched as the area has grown to offer superyachts more facilities and services.
Traditionally the area is busiest in July and August, when The International Bodrum Ballet Festival occurs and early June when it plays host to The International Bodrum Film Festival. Quieter months are in September to June, but the host of restaurants, shops and spa facilities are enough to keep the area buzzing.
Captain Allan Skanderup Nielsen of M/Y Katara agrees that "The newly developed Palmarina is a showpiece for marinas worldwide to learn from. They have integrated the marina with the concept of making it a destination. The range of dining, night clubs, and shopping is impressive and will for sure attract yacht owners."
Palmarina Bodrum offers space for up to 69 yachts over 40m among its 710 berths, as well as haul-out facilities up to 260 tons and a boatyard with extensive technical services. Esen observes that the marina is doing well, with no problems when it comes to mooring and dry dock capacity. “They have a good network worldwide and offer high quality service," he says. "The facilities on the marina and social scene attract a lot of tourists. They maintain a high level services and try to do something new each year to fulfill yacht owners’ and tourists needs."
However Captain Nielsen also notes that although marina facilities are good for yachts over 30m "it can be a bit exposed to sit stern-to on the outside of their outer jetty which is for the very largest yachts." He adds, "They need to obtain more flexibility in immigration and customs procedures to make yacht owners feel welcome", as this can often be lengthy, requiring yachts to dock in a clearance quay before shifting to the marina.
From the Billionaire or Club Nobu to Cipriani, Palmarina Bodrum isn't short of the high-end glamour you would expect from the classic hubs of the western Med, but more importantly it has the cultural soul that owners and guests are increasingly looking for on their travels. Located in the southern reaches of the Aegean Sea, the entire area around the marina is renowned for its unspoilt natural beauty and the authentic fishing villages that were once key to the area's trade.
“After the investment, the area has become one of the most valuable international destinations, becoming an point of attraction both for national and international visitors and yacht owners," says Esen. "This supports the economic growth of the sector from the micro economy of the local people to the yacht agencies, yacht companies and the tourism sector itself in the region.”
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