Programme shifts focus to Muğla region to promote sustainable tourism
19 April 2022, İstanbul – After 15 years of pioneering work and US$2 million invested in promoting sustainable tourism in Turkey, the “Future is in Tourism” programme announced today that its focus for 2022 would be Muğla province, one of the Turkish regions hardest hit by last year’s forest fires. The venerable programme, the first in Turkey to focus on sustainable tourism, is implemented by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Anadolu Efes.
As in past iterations of the programme, the new activities in Muğla will promote community-based initiatives, “sustainable tourism” models, women’s entrepreneurship and local job creation. The project will develop five new alternative tourism routes; provide mentoring and other support to at least 50 women-led tourist businesses; and train 500 people in Muğla region in sustainable tourism. Local tourism companies that complete the training will receive a recommendation certificate.
Recognizing the heightened threat to tourism posed by climate-driven disasters, the project will also conduct awareness raising activities on forest-fire risks for local residents and install water tanks at high-risk locations in the region to support quick reaction to forest fires.
“We started this programme in 2007 to diversify tourism in Turkey away from simple ‘sea-sand-sun’ models to an environmentally sustainable approach that benefits local communities over 12 months and four seasons,” said Can Çaka, Group Head and CEO of Anadolu Efes Beer. “Over 15 years, we have developed successful alternatives together with UNDP and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Starting from this year, we’ll be in Muğla, which is extremely important in terms of domestic and foreign tourism. As Anadolu Efes, we stood by the people of the region during the forest fires last year. Now we take responsibility for the social and economic rehabilitation process of Muğla. In the new period, our efforts will contribute to the development of people, particularly women, and protection of natural and cultural heritage.”
“Tourism is a crucial economic sector for Turkey,” said UNDP Resident Representative Louisa Vinton, “but it also puts a heavy burden on our delicate natural environment. Our efforts aim to develop models of tourism that generate income and jobs while protecting nature. In this respect, we see our partnership with Anadolu Efes and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism as a model of the public-private partnerships that will be vital for future green growth in Turkey.”
“One of the Ministry’s responsibilities is to identify ways to diversify tourism activities extend tourism to 12 months and increase tourism income,” said Şennur Aldemir Doğan, Deputy General Manager of Directorate General of Investments and Enterprises at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. “In this context, the ‘Future is in Tourism’ reflects a strong partnership structure through which we have be able to support sustainable tourism initiatives in different regions of Turkey for 15 years. In the new period, based on the experiences we aim to support local people and small businesses to generate income from tourism by improving the existing potential in Muğla, one of the important tourism destinations in Turkey.”
Since 2007, the “Future is in Tourism” programme has engaged 200,000 people in 19 different projects and cooperated with 600 NGOs and 23 universities. The results of the programme include new employment opportunities for 500 women. Grants awarded under the programme – for example, for the “Lavender Scented Village” in Kuyucak or the “Kars Cheese Route” – have shown remarkable success in attracting new visitors and improving local livelihoods by highlighting distinctive local products, scenic landmarks and indigenous flora and fauna.
For more information:
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Deniz Şilliler Tapan, UNDP Turkey, firstname.lastname@example.org