Copycats Jump on Santorini’s Brand (photos)



The Greek island of Santorini has become such a strong brand in tourism that other countries have started using its name to market their cities to tourists.

In Turkey, Latin America and the Far East, towns and new housing developments are borrowing the name along with some — or all — of the characteristics which have made Santorini a famous destination.

Of course, the Greek island is unique, since there are not many places in the world where you can enjoy exquisitely clear waters while perched on the rim of a massive active volcano in the middle of the sea.

However, other countries are trying to milk in its reputation with varying degrees of success. Here are three examples:

Turkey

The deterioration of Greco-Turkish relations in recent months has not deterred a Turkish businessman from unveiling plans for the construction of a housing project named after the Greek island.

Park Life Santorini (Park Yaşam Santorini) which occupies an area of 21,000 square meters in the Turkish town of Izmir borrows features from the cosmopolitan Greek island.

The project will consist of 507 apartments as well as 17 detached houses.

At its center it features a windmill, although critics point out that the mill is more reminiscent of the landscape of Holland or Mykonos rather than Santorini.

Uruguay

Located on a high rocky point jutting over the sparkling water of Punta Ballena, Uruguay, sits the Casapueblo, a magical sculptured hotel/museum that is often referred to as the Santorini of Latin America.

It is the structure’s Cycladic-inspired architecture, combined with Punta Ballena’s amazing sunset view that makes it look like a small village on the Greek island of Santorini.

The structure is a short 15-minute drive from Punta del Este and was built by the famous Uruguayan artist Carlos Paez Vilaro. Today, it is a museum, art gallery and hotel that welcomes thousands of visitors every year.

South Korea

A village in the Far East has been dubbed the ‘Santorini of Korea’ for its beautiful beaches, eye-catching homes and epic scenery.

Gamcheon Cultural Village in Busan, South Korea‘s second-largest city, used to be better known as a home for Korean War refugees as well as being the headquarters of the Taegukdo religious sect.

However, since 2009, Gamcheon underwent a radical transformation thanks to South Korea’s tourism ministry and turned into a lively community and attractive visitor destination.

Unlike the white and blue of the Aegean Greek island, the ‘Santorini of Korea’ has rows of colourful terraced mountainside houses.

The streets are decorated with murals while several houses have been turned into art studios and galleries.