Published on : Wednesday, June 9, 2021
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and a leading Turkish travel and leisure agency, Jolly, are spearheading sustainable tourism routes in Turkey as the COVID-19 pandemic leads more vacationers to opt for alternatives such as caravanning and ecotourism.
Speaking exclusively to Anadolu Agency (AA), Mustafa Ali Yurdupak, the inclusive and sustainable growth portfolio manager at the UNDP Turkey, said, “We will work on blazing the way for sustainable tourism routes under the medium-term goals of the ‘MirasımTürkiye’ campaign.”
The MirasımTürkiye (My Heritage Turkey) campaign, launched by Jolly nearly three years ago, aims to help preserve Turkey’s rich heritage and pass it down to future generations.
The project is seeking out alternatives to beach-based tourism that will also help benefit local economies, Yurdupak explained.
“We will work on (figuring out) when we take a tour group, how can a route including several legs be put together? Which geographic areas should be prioritized?” he added.
The campaign’s short-term goal is using digital tools to build an understanding of “responsible tourism” among children and their families, he underlined.
In the long run, the campaign aims to strengthen the institutional capacity of tourism agencies with the goal of sustainability and to launch special efforts toward these sustainable tourism routes, he noted.
These efforts will raise awareness among tourists, identify areas for development and develop steps to be taken, he said.
The UNDP says the project will be an incubator for scaled-up projects to be developed with the help of partners such as the government and relevant nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), Yurdupak explained.
Noting that UNDP Turkey has already been carrying out projects in the field of tourism, he said: “With this accumulated experience and know-how, our familiarity with implementation partners, and an international pool of experts, the UNDP is the right partner for any business or NGO that wants to operate in the field of sustainable tourism.Compared to other countries, Turkey enjoys an advantage since it took action early, despite adopting tourism-based development relatively late, said Yurdupak.
“Turkey’s second advantage is the enormous diversity of Anatolia,” he explained, referring to the vast geography of Turkey, ranging from snowy peaks to coastal plains and challenging canyons, with everything in between.
“In other words, this is a country where an incredible number of alternatives can be created for ecotourism, for sustainable tourism destinations.”