Birgi village selected as second site for SENTRUM model of “green destination” in Türkiye

May 21, 2024

New location will build on successful transformation of Ayvalık Küçükköy 

20 May 2024, Birgi – The historic village of Birgi in Izmir has been selected as the second location in Türkiye to benefit from the “green destination” model of tourism created jointly by Enerjisa Enerji, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Sabancı University. Known as SENTRUM – the "Sustainable Energy Based Tourism Implementation Center" – the initiative has already transformed the village of Küçükköy in Ayvalık through the concerted application since 2021 of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other sustainable practices.

For the new destination, the SENTRUM partnership has expanded to include the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Turkish Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA) as a way of ensuring that the project’s achievements align with and enrich national tourism standards. The project will also adhere to criteria set by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) to apply the highest international standards for environmentally friendly development. 

Sabancı Foundation and HiltonSA Hotels are also supporters of the project, while Ödemiş Municipality and Ödemiş District Governorate are among the local partners.

The SENTRUM partners will cooperate with Birgi residents to transform the village into a sustainable green tourism destination by protecting cultural and natural values, extending the tourism offering to cover all four seasons, and creating “smart routes” to offer visitors a customized travel experience. A branding and marketing strategy will be created for Birgi. 

Multiple paths to sustainability will be pursued. A climate risk assessment will identify adaptation measures to protect tourism from extreme weather. Visitor carrying capacity will be analyzed to avoiding putting excessive pressure on social, natural and cultural heritage. Walking and cycling routes will be created alongside other efforts to encourage green transportation. Energy audits will be conducted for hotels, guesthouses and public buildings.

The SENTRUM model aims to promote the village’s unique natural and cultural heritage while expanding livelihood opportunities. New jobs will become available for women and young people and internships will be offered for students in tourism high schools and universities.

“Enerjisa Enerji is committed to helping to solve the climate crisis and other national and global challenges by establishing partnerships in every field we operate,” said Murat Pınar, CEO of Enerjisa Enerji. “Our work through SENTRUM in Ayvalık Küçükköy shows how tourism, one of our country’s biggest income generators, can be transformed with sustainable practices and renewable energy. We will now continue this work in Birgi, expanding our success story in Türkiye and the world through the SENTRUM project.”

“Tourism can be a powerful engine for development,” said UNDP Resident Representative Louisa Vinton. “But it can also put heavy pressure on the environment, undermining the natural beauty that attracts tourists in the first place. This is why it is vital to develop greener, more sustainable models that protect and cherish nature while delivering social and economic benefits to the communities that welcome tourists.”

“Turkish tourism, which started its transformation journey with zero waste studies, created a sustainable tourism road map by making a cooperation agreement with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) starting from 2022” said Turkish Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA) Deputy General Manager Dr. Elif Balcı Fisunoğlu. “With this agreement, Türkiye became the first country that makes an agreement on government level in the field of sustainable tourism. National Sustainable Tourism Program will ensure transformation of the entire tourism sector, particulary accommodation facilities, destinations and tour operators. We believe that the work within the scope of the SENTRUM project, which focuses on sustainable development, will contribute to the green transformation of our country and will take its place as an example of good practice in the world," 

For more information about SENTRUM Project, please visit: 

For more information:

Deniz Şilliler Tapan, UNDP Türkiye Communications Specialist,