COVID-19 Tourism Recovery Technical Assistance Cooperation Package Facilitating Tourism Recovery Aftermath of COVID-19 in Türkiye

What is the project about?

United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have partnered to implement a Tourism Recovery Technical Assistance Package aimed at responding to crises such as Covid-19. Under the overall cooperation framework, the project “COVID-19 Tourism Recovery Technical Assistance Cooperation Package Facilitating Tourism Recovery in Aftermath of COVID-19 in Türkiye” was implemented with the cooperation of the Republic of Türkiye Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The project aims to reduce the negative impacts caused by COVID-19 on the tourism sector, while building resilience of communities whose livelihoods depend upon sustainable tourism in Türkiye.


What has been the situation?

Based on the challenging landscape created by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism sector in Türkiye has faced unprecedented setbacks in 2020 and 2021. The outbreak significantly impacted tourism demand, causing a decline in visitor arrivals and hindering the growth potential of the industry. In this context, it became essential that a proactive response was required to revitalize the sector and mitigate the adverse effects caused by the pandemic. The recovery of the tourism sector is intricately linked with the development of exclusive tourism products that cater to evolving traveler preferences and aspirations.

On the other hand, the effective utilization of digital platforms is vital for reaching and engaging potential visitors, particularly in an environment where travel patterns and consumer behavior have undergone significant changes. Therefore, digital marketing tools play a crucial role in driving destination marketing efforts in the post-pandemic era.


What is our mission?

It is aimed to increase awareness of local tourism stakeholders on the diversity of tourism products, understand the economic impact of developing cultural tourism products for sustainable tourism, and the importance of communication in brand identity via digital marketing tools.  The two main outputs of the project are; 

  1. Digital Marketing Assessment and Product Development Report: Digital marketing efforts and initiatives were reviewed, and a set of recommendations were provided based on the latest trends and tailored to the national tourism strategy of the country.

  • Opportunities were identified to boost tourism demand, with a specific focus on the domestic market and cultural tourism products, and their digital marketing potential. 

  • The quality of available cultural tourism products and services were reviewed and recommendations on digital marketing use were provided.

  • The current use of digital marketing tools were assessed and opportunities were identified to strengthen products and packages using digital platforms through analyzing travel patterns and marketing trends.

  • Recommendations were provided for enhancing/ improving digital marketing activities with a specific focus on cultural tourism products.  

  1. Capacity Building Workshops: Based on the main findings from the recommendations report, 3 capacity building workshops were organized:

  • Capacity building workshops were organized in each pilot destination focusing on product development, digital marketing trends combining theoretical and practical information.

  • Overall capacities of tourism stakeholders were enhanced ensuring correct implementation of proposed recommendations, and long-term applicability and monitoring of activities.

  • The highlights of the report with regards to product development and digitalization of marketing efforts were shared.


How are we doing this?

Within the scope of the project a comprehensive report on “Digital Marketing Assessment and Product Development” has been prepared. The report serves as a strategic roadmap that acknowledges the profound impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry while emphasizing the importance of adapting to the new normal and capitalizing on emerging opportunities.

As to the overall assessment leading to the report, firstly, the vision and objectives of the 2023 Tourism Master Plan were examined and factors that may stand out in the brand positioning of destinations were summarized by considering the effects of COVID-19 on the decision cycle of travelers within the relevant national strategies of Türkiye.

Secondly, the study focused on the strong link between tourism and culture. Cultural tourism is an effective way to achieve integration between cultural industries, creative industries, tourism, and travel and help destinations become more attractive to tourists, increase their competitiveness as places to live, visit, work and invest in.

Under the coordination of TGA and Provincial Directorates of Culture and Tourism, interviews with tourism actors and stakeholders were realized with a participatory approach which was followed by capacity-building workshops in Mardin, Isparta and Erzurum. The report and workshops were completed following the completion of interviews and site-visits. The recommendations received in these activities were included in the report and discussed in the workshops. 


How will Turkey Benefit?

This specific report aims to increase tourism demand and strengthen cultural product development and marketing strategies. It is based on the increasing importance of developing exclusive products and the efficient use of digital marketing tools towards strategic goals in destination marketing. The report considers the principles of sustainable tourism in a way that can inspire and guide the strategic planning of destinations by local authorities. It is based on producing a variety of all-year-round products capable of targeting different groups and, most importantly, encouraging the adoption of communication techniques based on storytelling that will enable an emotional bond with travelers.

By embracing the principles of sustainability, the report also emphasizes the need to adopt responsible tourism practices in cultural product development and marketing. This approach ensures that Türkiye's rich cultural heritage is preserved, local communities benefit from tourism activities, and visitors can partake in authentic and meaningful experiences.

On the other hand, the capacity-building workshops have significantly equipped local stakeholders, with the necessary skills, knowledge, and tools to navigate the challenges of the post-COVID-19 era while highlighting the importance of sustainable tourism. By fostering active engagement and providing expert guidance, these workshops have enhanced participants' understanding of how to develop cultural tourism products for sustainable and responsible travel and how to utilize digital marketing and communication methods. 

By adapting to the new realities and embracing innovative approaches, Türkiye is poised to emerge stronger from the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and unlock its tourism potential in a post-pandemic world.



September 2022


December 2022






United Nations Development Programme


World Tourism Organization






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