Sustainable Tourism Development in Turkey Unit


SustainableTourism Development in Turkey



Nameof instructor

Table of Contents

Introduction 4

Background 4

Products and services 4

Task 1 Tourism Stakeholders 5

Relevance of STD to supply-side stakeholders 5

Government 5

Local government 6

State tourism agency/Ministry of culture and tourism 6

National tourism industry body 7

Regional tourism organizations 7

Tourism operators and suppliers 7

Local community 8

Relevance of STD to demand side stakeholders 8

Public-private partnership (PPP) under STD 8

Advantages of PPP 9

Disadvantages 9

Task 2: Tourism planning process 10

Steps in tourism planning process 11

Step1: study recognition and preparation. 11

Step 2: Setting objectives and goals 11

Step 3: Identify stakeholders 11

Step 4: examining available data and information. 12

Step 5: launching new surveys. 12

Step 6: analysis of primary and secondary data. 12

Step 7: initial policy and plan formulation 12

Step 8: recommendations 13

Step 9: Implementation 13

Step 10: Monitoring and plan reformulation. 13

Interactive planning 13

Tourism impact 14

Task 3 Sustainability of Tourism 15

Challenges of adopting STD 16

Stages of sustainable tourism development 16

Discovery 16

Research 16

Planning and design 17

Development 17

Success 17

Problems stagnation 18

Rejuvenation or decline 18

Task 4 conflict of interest 18

Socio-cultural issues 19

Financial/budgetary 19

Political 19

Task 5 Issues in tourism development 20

Terrorism 20

Climate change 20

Future development and recommendations 21

Introduction Background

Turkey is one of the most popular tourist destinations around theworld. According to 2014 data, the country received over 41 millionvisitors (WTTC, 2014). Such a high number of tourists has impactedthe country’s economy, environment, culture and the people in verymany ways. Therefore, the destination is an important case study toassess how the large number of tourists has affected the country andits attractions. With the concept of sustainable tourism being fairlynew, Turkey has embraced the new approach that seeks to factor indevelopment on many fronts and environmental conservation (WTTC,2014). This report thus examines the sustainability of Turkey’stourism development.

Products and services

There are several major attractions that attract such a huge numberof visitors. Most importantly, the country is home to importanthistorical and global heritage sites. This is due to its history asthe capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. Key historicalattractions include the Galata Tower, Sultan Ahmed Mosque (&quotBlueMosque&quot), the Chora Church, Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, BodrumCastle, Basilica Cistern, Mt. Nemrut, Golden Horn, Pamukkale, GulhanePark, Library of Celsus and Selimiye Mosque among others (WTTC 2014).The country and especially the capital city Istanbul has alsodeveloped into a fashion and shopping destination due to thedevelopment of large and luxurious malls that target both local andforeign tourists. Coastal regions have also developed marine parks,beaches and marinas that attract a wide range of visitors. Luxuryresorts and hotels provide catering and accommodation as well asother value added services. The government provides supports servicessuch as sound policies and infrastructure such as the construction ofa new international airport in Istanbul (ibid).

Task 1 Tourism Stakeholders

Researchers such as McDonald (2006) have demonstrated thatunderstanding stakeholders` perceptions of sustainability andstakeholders` values associated with natural resources are criticalaspects for understanding STD outcomes. Therefore, to achieve STDstakeholders must be identified and their role and perceptionstowards suitability clearly understood. According to SustainableTourism Cooperative Research Centre (2009), tourism stakeholders canbe generally classified into two groups supply side and the demandside. The supply side comprises of Turkish government (central andlocal), transportation facilities (airports, airlines, ports andmarinas), accommodation and travel agencies among others. The demandside also comprises of consumers of tourism such as tourists andtravel agencies. It is important to identify stakeholders and theunique role they play in the complex relationship that characterizeplayers in the tourism industry (Sharpley &amp Telfer, 2014).

Relevance of STD to supply-side stakeholdersGovernment

The ability of governments to set up a suitable economic environmentand also regulate the industry affects the overall tourism industry.Nonetheless, the government also benefits from STD through:

  1. Increased foreign exchange earnings from a higher number of visitors

  2. Triggers formulation of better resource management policies and laws

  3. Creation of employment

  4. Creation of entrepreneurship opportunities that earn governments revenue through taxes, levies and permits (Sharpley &amp Telfer, 2014).

On the other hand,STD may increase the costs for government to running touristfacilities as well as adhering to international standards on STD.

Local government

Local governments are charged with local marketing and localdevelopment of the product as well as providing local visitorsservices. These governments benefit from STD through betterinvolvement and engagement in tourism which was previously a centralgovernment’s issue. There is also better resource allocation andhigher revenues through STD. On the other hand, some governmentsmight lack finances, expertise and capacity to manage and exploitlocal resources for tourism.

State tourism agency/Ministry of culture and tourism

The state tourism agency alongside the state department or ministryin charge of tourism is charged with regulating and overseeing theindustry. The body may also handle marketing functions for thedestination and is most likely to form another body that handlesmarketing and branding of the destination. It is impacted by STD invarious ways.

  1. STD provides a better platform for marketing the destination.

  2. Provides assurance of continued exploitation of resources

  3. Higher revenue obtained from tourism resources

  4. Adoption of better environment management policies

National tourism industry body

This is an association formed by industry players that spearheadstheir issues and formulates self-regulatory mechanisms. The body mayalso market the destination as a whole. Benefits of STD include:

  1. Increased number of visitors

  2. Wider scope of industry stakeholders

  3. Increased industry research and understanding (Buckely 2012)

The main challengethat STD brings to these stakeholders are minimal.

Regional tourism organizations

The body is chargedwith overseeing regional tourism needs. In most cases they areformulated in accordance with the state’s membership to regionaleconomic blocs such as the EU.

Tourism operators and suppliers

Thisgroup comprise of players in ecotourism, airlines, theme parks,medical tourism, researchers, business tourism, and conventionaltourism.

  1. Some practices such as recycling and reduction in wastage have lowered operational costs for players in the industry.

  2. Higher revenue

  3. Introduction of niche markets

  4. Higher revenue

  5. Sustainability can be a source of competitive advantage

  6. Better exploitation of natural resources

Local community

Majority of local communities manage most of the natural resourcesand supply the cultural experience to visitors. Benefits of the localpeople through STD include

  1. Improved standard of living

  2. Employment

  3. Better living conditions

Relevance of STD to demand side stakeholders

According to Harris and Williams (2012) the demand side largelycomprises of the local people, visitors and travel agencies. Localand foreign visitors create demand through visits while travelagencies create demand through organization packages for tourists.The demand side benefits from STD through:

  1. Improved standard of living for local people

  2. Employment for local people

  3. Higher levels of satisfaction tourists

  4. Higher revenues and product diversification for travel agencies

Public-private partnership (PPP) under STD

PPP is collaboration between a public entity and a private entity toachieve a common goal for mutual benefit. The PPPs are aimed atincreasing efficiency in government operations mainly majorinfrastructure projects by transferring the skills and innovativecapabilities of the private players into the public domain. There aremany types of PPP such as concessions, contracting, BOT (Build,Operate and Transfer), and DBFO (Design, Build, Finance and Operate).In the Turkish tourism sector, the BOT model of PPP is the mostcommon (Deloitte (2013). The government partners with private playersto develop tourism infrastructure. The private entities can be paidin a number of ways such as operating built facilities for an agreedperiod of time before handing them over to the government under a BOTmodel (Ministry 2014). A good example is the Turgutreis marinawhich has a capacity to accommodate 550 boats/yachts ranging from8-30m meters in length. The marina was build and financed by ofD-Marin Marinas Group, a subsidiary of Dogus Group. Several othermarinas such as Didim Marina, Çeşme Marina and Sığacık Marinawere also constructed through the BOT PPP model (Uzunkaya, n.d.).

Advantages of PPP

  1. Delivery of better quality services over the lifetime of the project

  2. Shared risk between private player and governments

  3. Better management of public resources

  4. Increased competition between players improves quality of service

  5. Development of new destinations

  6. Preservation of heritage sites

  7. Provision of social amenities


Some challengesfacing Turkish tourism sector on PPP are specific to the countrywhile others apply fundamentally to PPP.

Country specific

  1. Lack of a central administrative structure for PPP projects. This means that each sector or ministry has to initiate and manage PPPs independently and create a body to oversee such projects. This leads to duplication of roles and redundancy

  2. Limited number of PPP models recognized by the laws of the country

  3. Lack of harmonization of PPP laws as there are different sector and model specific PPP laws.


  1. Contracts are more complex which can be subject to misinterpretation by either party thereby affecting service delivery

  2. Possible conflict between planning and environmental considerations

Task 2: Tourism planningprocess

STD requires comprehensive planning to achieve development andpositive impact on the destination economically, socio-culturally andenvironmentally. Several theories on development such as dependencytheory, balanced/unbalanced theory, Rostow’s theory of growth,Marx’s theory and vicious circle theory recognize the role oftourism in development. To achieve development through tourism, thenthe process must be well planned. The process involves about nine orten steps depending on the level of planning. Normally, there threelevels of tourism development planning: national, international andregional/local.

Steps in tourism planning process Step1: study recognition and preparation.

This involves acknowledging the need for strategy to move forward andidentifies what needs to be done. Another important thing addressedin this case is context. Context considers the available resourcesvis a vis needs (e.g. natural attractions, community, climate,geography etc) and potential to maximize the outcomes and also ensurerelevance and feasibility while also acknowledging the type ofattraction. For instance, themes parks, luxury resorts and heritagesites all have different requirements. In turkey, the ministry ofculture and tourism is mainly involved in this step. Localgovernments are also involved in small scale projects that aim tobenefit local communities.

Step 2: Setting objectives and goals

The process should have clear cut and actionable goals within aspecific time frame. The planning of goals identify the what, where,why and how of the tourism development.

Step 3: Identify stakeholders

This steps identifies who is, could be or needs to be involved in theprocess. It also involves considering when and how identifiedstakeholders should be consulted and involved. The nature of interestof stakeholders should be well evaluated to avoid involving peoplewith no genuine interests. Working relationships may also bedesigned.

Step 4: examining available data and information.

Existing information and resources on an area targeted for tourismdevelopment should be sought and analyzed. Such information may beavailable form local and state libraries, private collections,published books and journal articles, government records amongothers. Located data and information should be analyzed andsummarized to get a clear picture of the target area.

Step 5: launching new surveys.

This process aims at collecting critical information that will informthe tourism development process but is lacking from existing data.

Step 6: analysis of primary and secondary data.

Data previously collected on tourism in a given area identified instep 3 is compared with new data on the same area collected in step4.

Step 7: initial policy and plan formulation

Policy looks at allthe issues at hand. This is the stage where stakeholders meetings areheld so that they can present their views in line with interactiveplanning.

Step 8: recommendations

Formulation ofrecommendations in informed by data and facts collected from theprimary and secondary study. The process is best carried out byexperts who understand the potential and limitation in each of them.

Step 9: Implementation

Implementation of recommendation is very crucial to the whole processbecause it determines whether the objectives of the whole process aremet. Implementation largely comprises of physical development,program development, police development

Step 10: Monitoring and plan reformulation.

This part of the process is continuous as recommended by interactiveplanning. It involves assessing the projects once they are developedand improving on the weaknesses and exploiting opportunities thatcome along the way.

Interactive planning

Interactive planning pertains to continuous planning with a view ofdesigning the future as opposed to the future being shaped by outsideforces. Through this approach, the tourism players create a future bydesigning a desirable present. The organization will thus aspiretowards minimizing the difference between its current state and thedesired current state.

Interactive planningin Turkish tourism is evident in a number of ways. The mostconspicuous way is through lengthy stakeholder meetings andconsultations in any tourism development planning process. Forinstance, in a report for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the projectcoordinator for the Kaş-Kekova SPA in Antalya indicated that theproject was informed by ten years of solid scientific research in thearea (Gunther 2015). With such solid research, the project managersidealized the project and worked backwards into the realizationphase. The

Tourism impact

As aforementioned, tourism development contributes to about 12.4% ofTurkey’s GDP directly, indirectly and induced industries (WTTC2014). The industry also stimulates infrastructural development suchas hospitals, transport and communication as well as education. As of2014, a total of 580,000 people worked in the Turkish tourismindustry with the figure projected to hit 915,000 in 20105 (WTTC2015). The number of persons employed in the tourism industry and thecontribution of tourism to GDP as well as the poverty levels in thecountry can measure tourism’s economic impact.

Environmentally, sustainable tourism development has spurredconservation and preservation of heritage sites, culture, forestecosystems, marine ecosystems and the environment in general. Majordevelopment projects have to undergo strenuous environmental impactassessment which has generally improved the society’s awareness ofenvironmental conservation. Progress in this area can be measured interms of renewable energy use, reduction of emissions and wastage.Additionally, status of various species can be used show direction ofprogress.

On the social level, the welfare of the Turkish people has generallyimproved through Tourism. Major corporate players in the Tourismindustry have engaged local communities in their projects asstakeholders and thus seek to give benefits to the local communitythrough corporate social responsibility programs. Progress on thisarea can be assessed by the quality of life on the local people andpreservation of heritage sites.

Task 3 Sustainability of Tourism

Sustainability refers the productive coexistence between man andnature in a long term arrangement. Sustainability in tourismdevelopment thus seeks to make tourism beneficial to the humanpopulation while at the same time ensuring that the tourist sites andthe environment in general are well preserved for future generations(Gunn &amp Var 2010). Years of exploitation of the country’snatural resources in the name of tourism especially in theMediterranean and Aegean coastal regions and rapid developmentwithout environmental considerations called for a major overhaul ofhow development and tourism were perceived (Kaya and Smardon, 2000).The same way as uncontrolled industrialization, uncontrolled tourismcan have its own share of problems such as pollution, dislocation ofpopulations, environmental degradation, loss of cultural heritage,dislocation of people and economic disparities among others whichTurkey has experienced in the past. However, a well-designed andmanaged tourism industry as envisioned by the concept of STD hasreduced the risk of these potential problems and instead led to netbenefit socially, economically and environmentally to allstakeholders (WTTC 2015).

Challenges of adopting STD

Adoption is the greatest challenge of STD. Although the planning ofSTD on paper can be fairly simple, Day (2012) indicates that theadoption requires the involvement of individual players in thecomplex system of tourism as opposed to adoption by the destinationas a whole. Additionally, academicians and researchers have a fairlybetter understanding of STD but the utilization and application ofsuch knowledge by individuals employed in the tourism industry isminimal (Ruhanen 2008).

Stages of sustainable tourism development

STD calls for aprocess of planning and management that is best achieved through aseries of stages as follows.


This stage involvesidentifying a given location as a potential tourist attraction site.A given area can possess the potential to attract tourist site owingto its natural state, location, historical or cultural relevance oreven its potential to be developed into an attraction site such astheme park or luxury resort ((Ruhanen 2008)


The stage iscritical in that it provides the best ways informed by facts andscience on the best way to exploit a resource. Environmentalassessments are made and decisions on whether to go ahead and explorethe resource are made based on the information obtained andrecommendations of the studies on the target resource.

Planning and design

This stage involves the input of stakeholders and experts duringwhich plans are made on the best way forward to exploit thediscovered resource. Additionally, concrete plans on how the projectwill adhere to laws must be made. For instance, in the case ofdevelopment of Eurasia Tunnel Project Istanbul, under the Turkish lawon BOT, it was agreed that the consortium that undertook the projectwould operate the tunnel for 25years, 11 months and 9 days before handing it over to government(Environmental and Social Impact Assessment 2012).Additionally, the design of the tunnel had to be approved by thenational architectural r engineering body.


The development is the actual construction on the facility. Differentresources may be developed differently and may even fall in differentgovernment ministries. For instance, the Turgutreis marinaconstruction fell under theministry of transport as well as tourism. The development of marinais subject to the resource. For instance, the Turgutreismarina is depending on thecoastal region the same was as a marine park (Minsitry 2014).


This is the prime stage of the process. It involvesoperationionalizaton of the tourism resource whereby visitorsfrequent the site to sustain it and the positive impacts ofsustainable tourism are felt across the board. Many tourism resourcesin Turkey such as the Istanbul Airport, the Didim Marina, SelimiyeMosque and Topkapi Palace fall under this stage (Ministry of Tourismand Culture, 2013).

Problems stagnation

This stage explains the slowed attractiveness of tourism resource dueto a number of factors. They may include, reduced number of visitors,negative externalities, political issues, or competition from othersites. A good case is the planned redevelopment of Istanbul’sTaskim Gezi Park in2013 that was met by protests. The people and more so, the urban poorwere opposed to the government’s plan to change the park into amilitary barracks (Turkey Clashes, 2013).

Rejuvenation or decline

This stage is marked by the course of action taken by the overseeingbody. Corrective measures to address the problems faced in thestagnation could rejuvenate the resource or lead to further decline.

Task 4 conflict of interest

The involvement of many parties and stakeholders require uniquecollaboration in sustainable tourism development can lead toconflict. There are many issues that can cause conflict in tourismdevelopment in any given destination such as Turkey. The issues varywidely depending on the type and nature of stakeholders.

Socio-cultural issues

Social issues are some of the major issues of conflict facing tourismdevelopment. This emanates based on the expected social outcomes ofthe attraction. While different levels of government have uniqueroles to play in tourism development, the public and stakeholders ingeneral (Buckely, 2012). For instance, Turkey as an Arab country hasa high population of conservative Muslims who are opposed to westerntourists in the region on the belief that it will affect the cultureand moral values of Turkey as a country.


Majority of conflictof interest issues regard the funding of projects. Governments haveto address competing interests under tourism in terms of budgetaryallocations.


Political interests are likely to come alive in many tourismdevelopment projects. Political groupings are likely to impose theirpolitical demands on tourism projects to gain political mileage. Inthat regard, the projects get politicized and the goals might not beachieved (Ministry of Culture and Tourism 2007). On the other hand,political upheavals may affect tourism development such as the ArabSpring that rocked Arabian which affected tourism and investorconfidence in the region including Turkey.

Task 5 Issues in tourism developmentTerrorism

Following the recent attacks on British tourists in Tunisia, thetourism industry especially in the dominant Arab world has faced amajor setback. Turkey as an Arab country is bound to feel the effectof the growing risk of terrorism as visitors are likely to withholdback (WTTC 2014). Such an issue is evidently absent in otherdestinations around the world such as Macau. Macau is one of the topdestinations around the world that continues to attract high endtourists. Owing to its lucrative casino and gambling industry as wellother attractions. The region draws a large portion of its visitorsfrom mainland China and Hong Kong (WTTC 2015). As a region thatenjoys a blend of Chinese and Portuguese culture and has littlegeopolitical significance, the Macau thus faces a minimal threat fromtourism compared to Turkey.

Global economy

Fluctuations in the global economy have a direct impact on tourism.The global financial crisis of 2008 affected tourism greatly withsome countries such as Tunisia and Egypt registering as much as 45%drop in arrivals (Global Financial Crisis Bulletin 2009). Macau andTurkey were also affected as they registered significant drops inarrivals.

Climate change

Climate change is a pressing issue in terrorism. Modern tourists aremore interested in visiting places that record better sustainableapproaches in their operations. Turkey has explored this avenue byadopting STD. However, STD faces a major risk from climate changewhich affects both Macau and Turkey. For instance, majority of themarinas, sand beaches and beach luxury resorts in both destinationscould be submerged as a result of rising ocean levels (Cooper, et al,2005).

Future development and recommendations

For Turkey, the future development prospects are bright. Tourism isplaying a greater role in the economy as the number of visitors tothe region is growing. However, the country’s pending fullaccession into the EU faces opposition and support from members ofEU. Trade relations between individual member states of the EU suchas German and UK could affect future relations between thesecountries and the direction tourism takes given that the EU is amajor of tourists for Turkey. It is recommended that thesedestinations should be spearheading the climate change discussions byhighlighting the risks that climate change poses to public goods suchas tourism destinations and attractions sites. This way, thedestinations will not only live up towards sustainable developmentbut will use the concept as a marketing tool.


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