Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, the local economy in Bodrum, and in many other coastal areas of Turkey, was dominated by fishing. The area was also well known for sponge diving and occasional pearl diving. Since the 20th century however, the economy has been dominated by tourism, and the area is now well recognized for its excellent beaches, lively nightlife, and good quality hotels and holiday villas. This thriving tourist industry has helped the local retail economy, and many tourist attractions, such as golf courses, scuba diving courses and sailing schools, have also sprung up in the area, to cater for the tourist trade.
The tourist industry is a major source of employment in Bodrum, so there is a range of seasonal work available, some of which may be available to expatriates. Much of this will be advertised locally, including in newspapers and in shop fronts and notice boards in the port area. One common example is the work available on yachts and cruise liners, where a staff team is employed to cater for the needs of guests, for trips that can range from a few weeks to several months. The wages during the summer period are considered extremely lucrative on the most luxury yachts, and competition for the roles is fierce. Other opportunities for expatriates to move to the city include those working in major hotel and hospitality chains, some of which are also major employers in the area.
English teachers (and teachers with knowledge of any other languages) are highly sought after in many parts of Turkey, and Bodrum is no exception. Portals such as TEFL.com have excellent search functions to help identify teaching posts available in a particular area — and advertise positions that are open to people with a range of experience.
There are two different ways it is possible for foreign nationals to obtain a work permit that will give them the right to work in Bodrum. The majority will need to apply for a work permit through the Turkish consulate in the country where they are resident. As well as providing personal details and a number of applications forms, the individual must also be able to provide a contract or other document that sufficiently satisfies the Turkish Ministry of Labor and Social Security that they have a job to go to in Turkey. Once the application is approved, there is a time limit of 90 days in which the applicant must enter Turkey and commence work.
Those who are already resident in Bodrum, either because they own property there or because they are studying in the area, can make an application for a work permit locally. Again, this is done through the Turkish Ministry.