What is the project about?
This project aims at developing national and local capacities for planning and implementation of sustainable community based tourism in Turkey. This initiative, which will be nationally implemented by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MoCT) will also provide inputs for the Tourism Strategy of Turkey-2023, with a focus on diverse tourism activities and emphasis on alternative tourism initiatives.
What has been the situation?
UNDP and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism have a longstanding partnership since 2007, focusing on various segments of tourism for local economic development. This partnership was designed in parallel to tourism diversification as mentioned in Tourism Strategy of Turkey-2023 and focused on rural tourism, cultural tourism and winter tourism in three different project partnerships, as mentioned below:
1- Tourism Development in Eastern Anatolia Region Project (DATUR)
2- Alliances for Culture Tourism in Eastern Anatolia’ UN Joint Programme, implemented with the partnership of four UN Agencies (UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF and UNWTO)
3- Providing technical support for pre-feasibility, technical plans and preparation of tender dossiers for MoCT’s “Development of Winter Tourism Corridor in Erzurum, Erzincan and Kars” project under the RCOP Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance’s (IPA) Regional Development component
These project partnerships have been very valuable in drawing up some lessons learned. Majority of existing local economic development initiatives prioritize tourism as a sector to develop. For this reason, tourism diversification and tourism capacities (both national and local level) are highly critical. On the other hand, while Turkey is well-known for its growing tourism sector and incomes, sustainable community based tourism* is not widespread, and supporting structures for these types of tourism lines are not well-developed. Therefore, capacity to plan, implement and monitor sustainable community based tourism in these areas is needed, both for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and its partners at the central level, but also for local authorities such as Governorates, Municipalities, Development Agencies, etc. at the local level.
* Sustainable community based tourism can be defined as the type of tourism that is built on local natural and cultural values with a view to both protect and benefit from such values and that provides benefit to local communities of that location including women and the most disadvantaged populations
What is our mission?
UNDP's mission can be described as providing technical assistance to Ministry of Culture and Tourism in order to reach targets and achieve expected results of the Capacity Development for the Sustainable Community Based Tourism Project and create platforms in order to transfer lessons learned both to relevant units of MoCT and to other relevant central and local governmental institutions.
How are we doing this?
The project will make an inventory of existing local initiatives on sustainable community based tourism for selected region(s) (with a regional focus) and come up with capacity related recommendations to replicate successful examples and build on lessons learned. This approach will not solely focus on tourism as an end in itself, but will integrate widely adopted new trends such as competitiveness and value chains, sustainable and green businesses and capacity development as well as decentralization, which is an emerging trend in Turkish administrative system, bringing in the need to establish decentralized/local capacities like Development Agencies.
The approach designed under three pillars;
A- Capacity Assessment
B- Capacity Assessment Response
C- Replication and Strengthening of Good Examples
How will Turkey benefit?
This project will result in:
1- The assessment of the current situation with regard to the environment for implementation and mapping of sustainable community based tourism (legal, institutional and support structures). This assessment will be carried out by reviewing best practices and experiences in selected 3-4 regions/sites representing Turkey in a wider extent and through consultations at the local and central level.
2- An action plan to operationalise the sustainable community based tourism aspects of the Tourism Strategy of Turkey-2023 developed and implementation started with short term actions.
3- A structured assessment of how the Ministry of Culture and Tourism can more effectively support sustainable community based tourism in partnership with other central and local actors. Prepared action plans and mobilized support mechanisms in selected 3-4 regions/sites with a view to support creation of best practice examples. (Support mechanisms may include IPA, Development Agencies, ecotourism component of UNDP-GAP Organic Agriculture Project and Efes Company’s Sustainable Tourism grant programme, etc.)
4- Trainings and study tours to best practices conducted to different groups of actors operating in sustainable community based tourism including MoCT staff, line Ministries staff, governorates, municipalities, development agencies and civil society organizations on principles, operational and Turkish context.
5- Recommendations for a better legislative and operational enabling environment developed by a wide group of actors and advocated as appropriate,
6- Training materials/guidelines/toolkits on sustainable community based tourism developed to be used by the Ministry, line Ministries as well as Universities and other training institutions as appropriate.
As a follow up, a new program including pilot implementations is planned to be developed based on the strategies developed.