TOURISM DESTINATION SUSTAINABILITY AND NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (NGO S): A CASE STUDY OF BEYPAZARI, TURKEY

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1 Journal of Educational Travel Volume 1, Number 1, January 2010 TOURISM DESTINATION SUSTAINABILITY AND NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (NGO S): A CASE STUDY OF BEYPAZARI, TURKEY I. Bircan, H.I. Ulker, G. Gunes 1, and G. Karakoc Atilim University Z. Poyraz Municipality of Beypazari NGOs in Turkey, approximately one third of which are located in the cities of Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir, play an important role in raising awareness about environmental problems and improving environmental policies. These NGOs conduct numerous research studies and projects, especially on nature protection, biodiversity, forest, soil erosion, sea and shores, and sustainable tourism. Tourism can be a valuable option for development, particularly if sustainable principles are embraced. Sustainable tourism both provides economical value to the natural environment and contributes to nature protection. Beypazari, which is the focus of this paper, is approximately 100 km from Ankara and is recognized on both domestic and regional scales as an example of good practice, with the conservation of traditional architectural and cultural assets. Beypazari has been in a process of transition in recent years with the contribution of local and central government and of the local community. In addition to agriculture which is Beypazari s major economic activity, tourism has become an alternative source of income. Thus, the development of sustainable tourism products and services is vital for the long term viability of the area. A number of projects aimed at conservation, development and keeping alive the handicrafts, as well as natural and historical assets have been financed by the European Union and the United Nations Development Program in cooperation with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the municipality of Beypazari, departments of local universities and the local community. In the implementation of these projects, communication and interaction among all relevant actors is regarded as an important element in sustainable tourism management in Beypazari. In this paper, tourism development in Beypazari and its neighbourhood will be analysed, the studies conducted by NGOs in the area to encourage local participation and awareness will be exemplified, the approach which should be followed for the sustainability of tourism in Beypazari will be outlined, as well as the role and importance of NGOs in this approach. Keywords: Tourism, destination, sustainability, Beypazari, Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), local community Introduction Tourism contributes to various sectors of the manufacturing and service industries through the creation of employment opportunities - either directly or indirectly. This includes, agricultural, and services sectors, - including textile, fashion, shoe-making, transportation, food, gastronomy, souvenirs, jewellery, local handicrafts, education, health services, and banking. That is why its essential role in development cannot be ignored (DPT, 2006). The anticipated growth and the new trends observed in tourism have promoted the sector into such a strategic position that it may become the most important tool for the conservation of resources as well as to increase the environmental consciousness of the local people. These objectives can be achieved by generating financial resources which are necessary for conserving natural, historical and cultural assets by means of tourism, creating awareness and education programmes for visitors and local communities (Beunders et al. 2007). Tourism affects countries and communities through its political, economic, social, and cultural impacts on communities and nations. It can contribute to positive international relations and to national economies through direct foreign exchange earnings as well as through its significant multilayer effect. 1 ISSN: online The Educational Travel Foundation Limited. 17

2 BIRCAN ET AL. Another potential benefit of tourism in the economy of a country is that it increases employment opportunities. According to the data provided by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), in 2007 approximately 3.3 million jobs were created within the different branches of Turkish tourism sector (DPT, 2006). In addition to tourisms effect on the economy, it also enables countries to become familiar with each others culture, and to put natural, social and cultural environment to good use. Tourism also makes it possible to bring into the spotlight local identities and this can be a tool for the conservation of cultural diversity and authenticity. For instance, culture tourism depends mostly on the local identity and authenticity (Uslu and Kiper, 2006). This paper emphasises the importance of integrating the concept of conservation with improvement and evaluation in the conservation of natural and cultural heritage. Furthermore, it also stresses the need for integrated legislation to support sustainable development through a participatory model which embraces all stakeholders. As Gurpinar (2001) argues, conservation and keeping values alive are important concerns for many individuals and institutions (such as the local community, civil society, government, tourism sector, etc.). Beypazari, the focus of this paper, has been recognized at both a national and international level and demonstrated as an exemplary case with its conservative traditional architecture and cultural assets. With the contributions of local and central governments as well as the conscious and devoted efforts of its local community, Beypazari nowadays has been undergoing a process of change and tourism has become an alternative income-generating source in addition to its main source, agriculture. However, as a newly developing region in terms of tourism, the need for the sustainable development of tourism in this city still remains a current issue. The projects aiming at "conservation, development and keeping alive the handicrafts, natural and historical assets financed by the EU and GEF-SGP (Global Environment Facility- Small Grants Programme) implemented in Beypazari by United Nations Development Program (UNDP) are currently carried out in cooperation with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the local community, tradesmen, the local municipality and the related departments of local universities. In the context of aforementioned projects and voluntary works, it is possible to enable communication and interaction among all those involved and important for the sustainable management of tourism in Beypazari. Moreover, awareness has been raised regarding the conservation of natural, historical and cultural assets which constitute the resource for tourism in the district. In this paper, the development of tourism in Beypazari and its neighbourhood is discussed and research conducted by the NGOs encouraging local community participation and awareness are illustrated, as well as the approach to be followed for the sustainability of tourism. In addition, the role and importance of NGOs in such an approach is investigated. Tourism Destination and Sustainability In 1987 the United Nations Commission on the Environment and Development defined sustainable development as following: Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. If natural, economic, social and cultural sustainability are ensured, sustainable development can be made possible (United Nations, 1987). Surviving with an environmentally conscious approach is inevitable for both present and future generations, thus ensuring the establishment of healthy communities. The lives of healthy communities in economic welfare are called social sustainability As a social services sector, tourism sector should make both its present and future generations consumption patterns, which otherwise will be destroying natural and cultural environments, sustainable. The term sustainability in tourism implies that the tourism sector can continue to grow while enabling the sustainability of new tourism opportunities in a manner that destinations can also satisfy the requirements of future generations. 18

3 Journal of Educational Travel Volume 1, Number 1, January 2010 All over the world, people are concerned with the social injustices and environmental problems; they are becoming increasingly aware of the need for an approach in tourism which has fewer impacts and which is not damaging to the environment. They tend to support the initiatives aiming at local conservation and social development while adopting "green consumer life styles and shifting from intensive consumptive habits to healthy ones. Because of such concerns, the interest in sustainable tourism and ecotourism has been increasing day by day (Eagles, McCool and Haynes, 2002). Sustainability is crucial not only for natural resources but also for cultural ones. In destinations where the impacts of intensive tourism are experienced, degeneration of local culture or traditional lifestyle occurs while historical places are subject to physical damages due to overcrowding. In this context, sustainable development strategies underline two important issues: one is future planning by taking into account the needs of succeeding generations, and the other one is the conservation of resources. In recent years, destinations have been facing issues related with sustainability. Such places should become cleaner, greener and safer so as to maintain competition to attract foreign investment, enable tourism development and, therefore, to become commercially advantageous. As such, quality, safety, and services should become the key issues of local and national development policies (Ozdemir, 2008). The Case of Turkey Nowadays, the share of tourism revenue in the economy of many countries has been on the rise. It is estimated that international tourism revenue will reach 2 trillion US dollars in As a result, the competition among tourism regions to obtain a larger share of this revenue becomes more intensive. Among the OECD countries (members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), and in terms of foreign tourist arrivals, Turkey has ranked as the top country with an average tourism growth rate of 20.6% during the last 5 years. Here tourism, along with human resources, has shown a dramatic improvement as a result of the emphasis attached to investments and effective foreign publicity leading to an increase in its share of world tourism. In 2005, this industry had a 5.5% share in the country s GNP and the effect of such revenues in the balance between export and the relevant expenditures was 24.6%. In the same year, tourism revenues exceeded 22.5 billion US dollars. In 2008, the total hotel capacity in Turkey in terms of accommodating tourists was about 1.2 million, and the number of travel agencies in operation was 4,635. This evidently goes to show that tourism has an important place in the Turkish economy. Based on the 2007 statistics of the UNWTO, Turkey is one of the top ten countries with respect to international tourist arrivals and tourism income (UNWTO, 2008). The Anatolian plateau is one of the cradles of civilization and has hosted many peoples throughout history. In addition to being one of the conventional mass tourism destinations in the Mediterranean and Aegean regions, Turkey also offers visitors its rich cultural and historical assets. As a Mediterranean country, she has an advantage in this region when history, culture, arts, nature, gastronomy, folklore and people are considered (DPT, 2007). Turkey has an important position with respect to climate, the existence of natural resources and historical assets. Besides various local traditions and customs, the hospitality of the Anatolian people is an important aspect of the tourism offer. There are a number of other factors including a young and dynamic population, being one of the cradles of civilization, establishing a bridge between East and West, representing the exotic culture of the East, and having more modern and equipped accommodation facilities than other competitor countries in the Mediterranean have. Turkey has the capability of providing a variety of tourism activities (sea and thermal resorts, cultural and natural attractions, historical sites, etc.), as well as transportation facilities (via land, sea, and air). Recently, the development in yachting tourism has elevated Turkey to one of the world s leading countries with regards to yacht building and marine services with a harbouring capacity of yachts. ISSN: online The Educational Travel Foundation Limited. 19

4 BIRCAN ET AL. On the other hand, there are a number of irregularities; these are inadequacies in the support sectors in response to the high demands, mismanagement in the strategic planning of domestic tourism, failure in coordinating publicity and marketing, and low rates offered by hotels that provide all inclusive services. In addition to this, the tourism sector is highly prone to losses in times of crisis. The 2008 global economic crisis starting in the US and then spreading to Europe and the rest of the world has indisputably been the most important issue in the second half of this decade. Due to high oil prices, transportation costs are elevated and, as a result, airlines tend to fly less frequently to tourism destinations. Added to these problems are the occasional terrorist attacks and the impact of natural disasters (such as earthquakes). While a decline in the number of tourist arrivals and revenues has been observed worldwide, some countries managed to close 2008 with satisfactory results. Among them are Turkey, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Uruguay, Korea, Macao (China), Indonesia, India, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Morocco (UNWTO, 2009). The District of Beypazari, the focus of this paper, has been a success story from the time of the Independence War ( ) until today. The city has created its own brand by means of its flora and fauna, thermal springs, unique architecture, museums, festivals, historical Ottoman houses, and marketing and management strategies. Similarly, several other destinations have been developed in Turkey offering opportunities to domestic and international tourists. Among these destinations are Sirince (Izmir), Agva, Sile (Istanbul), Amasra (Bartin), etc. A relatively unsuccessful story though, is Cumalikizik village, where tourism and rural development had a counter-productive effect. In the beginning, the village settlement was a popular place among tourists with its authentic features, such as the local cuisine and life style. Later, however, the local people were influenced by commercialization and, motivated by profit, they started to change their authentic cuisine and local characteristics. As a result, the food quality has declined and the authentic settlement has changed somehow. While the support of the local people for further tourism attractions were considerably limited in the initial phase, now they are giving significant support (Uslu and Kiper, 2006). According to the tourist profile figures provided by Efes Pilsen (2008); 58.7% of tourists visit Turkey for its natural values and 21.4% for historical and cultural values. On the other hand, 76.1% of the tourists spend their vacation in an all-inclusive facility (Tourist Profile, 2008). It should be noted that there is a disadvantage in the all-inclusive system, leading tourists to stay in their hotels, rather than go outside to discover the local community and other features of life in Turkey. Thus, they are spending less money in the local economy. Furthermore, in this context, tourism is considered to be a short-term economic opportunity to make profit, leading to a decline in service quality. Because of this, malpractice in the sector endangers the long-term sustainability of tourism and the conservation of natural, cultural, and historical resources. In addition to this, it is a well- known fact that such an approach also paves the way to several negative impacts on the local community. Considering tourism as an economic asset in Turkey, several tourism related options are now outside the scope of conservation. Lack of social consciousness has also been effective in this process. However, several environmentally-concerned organizations have recently started to engage in activities aiming at the conservation of cultural and natural assets, not only to ensure social awareness in this regard but also to fight the decisions violating related regulations in the field. The conservation of natural and cultural assets can only be made possible by means of economic, political, and judicial processes. The means of putting conservation policies into practice should be open to the participation of individuals and the opinions of NGOs, who show social sensitivity to this issue. Thus, it would be possible to monitor whether the natural and cultural assets that are under constitutional protection are protected or not, by means of effective implementation of those regulations. Only then is it plausible to say that conservation can be improved by means of a technical infrastructure 20

5 Journal of Educational Travel Volume 1, Number 1, January 2010 containing economy and policy, and a social sensitivity demanding the implementation of law (Ozkaya, 2007). Turkey will also have important opportunities in the forthcoming years with respect to tourism which has gained momentum within the Eurasian plateau due to increasing interest in natural, cultural, and historical tourism in the world triggered by the increase in the number of well-educated and experienced tourists along with specialized tour operators and airline companies, financial investments, and improvement in communication technologies. The sustainability of tourism destinations is also one of the basic components of economic development and related policies. As a result of the improvement in the tourism sector in Turkey, it is of great satisfaction to witness those debates, forecasts and measures relating to the future of the sector are now considered at the top of the agenda and dealt with carefully. With this in mind, the 9th National Development Plan of Turkey - originally initiated in the 1960 s - specified its main policies regarding tourism as follows (DPT, 2006): Tourism must help reduce the income gaps among different regions in the country during every stage of its development; Achieving high quality, competition, and sustainability must be a priority in the tourism sector; Tourism in Turkey must develop to create increasing demand in order to have a better share of the international market. The 2023 Strategic Action Plan for Turkey in Tourism prepared by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, set objectives for the utilization of natural, cultural, historical, and geographical assets with a balanced conservation approach. It also proposed objectives for increasing tourism income by creating alternatives (Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 2007). To sum up, the tourism sector in Turkey has an important place in Turkey s development and growth policies. Sustainability of tourism has been supported by incentive policies, thus positively affecting the development. The Third Sector: Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) Several activists at both the national and international level work to reverse the negative effects of human activities on the environment. Civil society is the corner stone of maintaining human relations, and so it has to be considered prior to the element of authority. In the history of Western civilization, this concept first emerged out of the bourgeoisie created by capitalism. In German, it is called Gesellschaft. Civil society cannot be formed under primitive or basic development conditions. Political scientists believe that people are born in social settings, such as family and nation, and they participate in some other kind of setting, such as military, political parties or other associations. There are also interest groups determined by the common welfare of society according to other sociological approaches. When these interest groups are organized in such a way to influence public authority, they begin to do so (Tuncay, 2003). The NGOs, particularly those supported by the United Nations during the last quarter of the twentieth century, range from voluntary organizations to think-tank institutions, social activities to citizenship initiatives, and from NGOs to trade unions and vocational chambers. Also, the civil society is one of the basic founding members of the process of transition from totalitarian/authoritarian regimes to democracy, and the utmost primary factor of expansion of individual rights and freedom (Keyman, 2004). The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 was a turning point in regards to the movements concerning world environment. Not only did it introduce the term sustainable development, but also it proposed the adoption of participative mechanisms and processes by the UN, and all governments and other institutions. In this summit, it was approved that NGOs are descriptive, integral, and indispensable elements of the community. Thus, they should become reference sources for determining and conserving national and international benefits, and is protected under laws and regulations (Sahin and Guner, 2006). ISSN: online The Educational Travel Foundation Limited. 21

6 BIRCAN ET AL. The matter of involvement of NGOs in tourism facilities is a case applicable in the world. According to Buckley (2009), the critical issue distinguishing ecotourism from tourism in general is the potential positive contribution to the conservation of the natural environment. It is this aspect that potentially merits the prefix eco, and this is why that prefix is used in the tourism industry but not in other sectors, such as mining or manufacturing, forestry or ecofarming. Even if a triple bottom line accounting approach is used, it is the environmental bottom line that distinguishes ecotourism from its closest analogues in other sectors. A positive financial bottom line is essential for any self-contained private enterprise to survive and thrive. A positive social bottom line is equally achievable in almost any industrial sector, and is also the goal of development aid projects and NGOs. Improving the bottom line for the natural environment, however, is generally perceived as the job of public sector protected area management agencies, multilateral environmental aid, and environmental NGOs. The NGOs that have contributed to ecotourism facilities are as follows (Buckley, 2009): Table 1. Some of the NGOs that contribute to the ecotourism facilities (Buckley 2009). Continent and Region NGO Other Stakeholders Country Africa South Africa Ngala WWF Conservation Company Africa Zambia Kasanka NP Kasanka Trust Zambia Wildlife Authority Seychelles Cousin I Birdlife Seyhchelles Global Environment Facility Namibia Spitzkoppe WWF Other NGOs, local community Namibia Nyae-Nyae WWF Namibia Government Asia China Great Rivers The Nature Conservancy Government of China Indonesia Togian Islands Conservation International Local NGO, Togian Consortium Indonesia Gunung Halimun Wildlife Preservation NGOs, private sector Trust(USA) Nepal Himalayas Kathmandu Various Environmental Education Foundation Philippines Noslek Arbor Conservation International Phillipines government, locals Australia Australia Warrawong Earth Sanctuaries Australia Mornington Australian Wildlife Donors Conservancies Australia Mareeba Mareeba Wetland Foundation Private landholder NGOs in Turkey NGOs have a short history in Turkey. Their social activities have played an essential role in creating awareness of the environmental problems in this country. Recently, the Bahcesehir University Economic and Social Research Centre (BETAM) conducted a research titled Environment and Civil Society in Turkey: Organization and Recent Trends in which 22

7 Journal of Educational Travel Volume 1, Number 1, January 2010 environmental issues studied by the environmentalist civil society and the society s level of techniques employed during their activities have been examined (BETAM, 2008). The Environmentalist Civil Society of Turkey maintains its activities under a number of different organizations, associations, foundations, platforms, city councils, regional platforms, local agendas, universities environmental clubs, citizen initiatives, and coalitions. The ratio of environmental NGOs to all other NGOs is 0.7 %. In recent years, however, an increase has been witnessed in the number of environmental NGOs. It has been observed that the number of environmental institutions founded between 1995 and 2007 is 3 times more than the number of such institutions established between 1924 and 1995; 76% of the environmental NGOs has been active for twelve years, and 1/3 of them (156 establishments) are located in three of the largest cities in Turkey: Ankara, Istanbul, and Izmir. From the geographical distribution point of view, Central Anatolia (158) and Marmara Regions (127) take the top two ranks, and East (32) and South-eastern Anatolia (19) take the bottom two ranks, respectively. When the activities of NGOs and groups are examined, it can be seen that there are intensive activities conducted in some fields while there is almost no activity in others. For instance, nature conservation, biological diversity, forests, erosion, marine and coastal areas are the fields which the organizations concentrate on. However, there is only one civil organization engaged in activities in the metal and mineral sector. Similarly, there is little activity in regards to the energy sector. It is, nonetheless, seen that there is increasing interest and activity in soil, agriculture, nutrition, seed, and ecotourism (BETAM, 2008). Lobbying, legal battles, and media are the instruments often used by professional environmental NGOs while working in their fields. Other means include raising the awareness of the public through educational courses. The organizations examined in this study do not generally attend activities and protests which aim to draw attention by means of disrupting public order for a given period of time. Other than, it is known that efforts are carried out by professional NGOs having domestic and international support. Some of the most common campaigns target decision-makers to intervene and transform environmental policies, while other campaigns aim to increase the environmental awareness of the community. NGOs and Sustainable Tourism Destination: The Case of Beypazari Description and Characteristics of the Research Area Beypazari - the subject of this paper - is a district of the capital city, Ankara, and located in Central Anatolia 98 km west of the capital. Its area is 1,868 km 2 at an altitude of 675 metres above the sea level. It comprises 6 towns, 64 villages and 19 quarter districts. According to the public census of 2007, its population is 46,884, of which 34,496 live in the centre of the district and 12,388 in villages. While the growth rate of the population in the centre is 5.27%, this figure is 12.67% in villages. This implies that there is migration from villages to the centre (Table 2). The local community of Beypazari reflects a traditional structure and depends on its old customs and habits (Yaman, 2000). Table 2. Population of Beypazari Between (Municipality of Beypazari 2009). Population in Years Years Centre Villages Total ,496 12,388 46, ,441 17,400 51, ,225 19,752 45,977 Beypazari has been a settlement area since ancient times and is located on the famous Silk Road, and so, the district has an architectural style of historical merits. It holds symbols of ISSN: online The Educational Travel Foundation Limited. 23

8 BIRCAN ET AL. ancient traditions with rich historical and natural resources. Therefore the district has been ruled by the Hittites, Phrygia, Galatia, Rome, Byzantine, Anatolia Seljuk, and Ottoman dynasties. Beypazari, which was the bishopric centre of the Byzantine Empire, was an important trade centre on the Silk Road connecting Istanbul and Baghdad during the Seljuk s time. It was also the centre of military government during the Ottoman Empire. The most important characteristic of Beypazari is its bazaar, or the market. During the Ottoman era, shopping centres were founded in Beypazari, turning it into a large market in which people from neighbouring cities, towns and villages were coming together (Province of Ankara, 2007). This market (or bazaar ) was one of the largest of its time (Yaman, 2000). In fact, the name Beypazari comes from the word bazaar. The market was rebuilt in 1864 after a huge fire. It is famous for its historical houses, and the local community is still living with the 150- year-old bazaar and streets with some 3,000 old wooden houses. The oldest known of these houses, dating back to the 13 th century, has been damaged by several fires throughout history. Sixty-seven percent of the district s economy depends on agriculture, and the rest on trade, tourism, cattle breeding, industry, heavy-duty trucking (1,000 units per year), dairy products, mineral water and handicrafts (such as copper and silverware and woven goods). The presence of fertile land and abundant water springs, and its safe location surrounded by steep hills all make the district important for its residents. Various vegetables are grown in different parts of the land; growing carrots is a priority compared to other products. Beypazari s agricultural output has increased considerably over the last decade based upon the use of pesticides and fertilizers under the supervision of the district s directorate of agriculture, achieving a significant position in Turkey in regards to carrot production (Beypazari Municipality, 2009). Recent urban developments do not include the old city centre. In addition to its traditional style of housing and the Ottoman architectural patterns, all the characters of Turkish culture are still alive in Beypazari. Craftsmen still carry out their professions in the bazaars. Also, the local traditions such as cuisine, dating back some 600 years, are preserved by local people. The district now enjoys a combination of old and new styles. While the ancient part of the city is located on the northern side of the Ankara-Istanbul highway, its new part is located on the southern side between the highway and the Inozu Valley. The different styles in urban development have also affected social structure (Uslu and Kiper, 2006). The Inozu Valley has a considerably rich landscape with natural vegetation and architectural sites. On both sides of this valley, there are many caves formed in the rocks with a multistorey appearance which are very difficult to climb. It is also believed that these caves were cenotaphs and built-in rock churches where religious ceremonies used to be held dating back to the early Byzantine. Pursuant to the Act on Conservation of Cultural and Natural Assets no. 2863, the Inozu Valley has been registered as a first class archaeological site for its cenotaphs and churches, while the vineyards located in the bottom of the valley have been registered as second class for their vegetation and traditional vineyards (Yaman, 2000). Another positive development in recent years has been the efforts aiming to expand the boundaries of the above mentioned sites. As for its mineral water, Beypazari ranks first in Turkey and second in the world after the United States. The most important traditional handicraft still surviving in economic terms in is telkari or filigree, which is an ornament made of silver or gold fibres and which is in a high demand (Yaman, 2000). Tourism Development and Sustainability at Beypazari Beypazari has an important potential in terms of tourism and environment. Tourism development in the district is strengthened by its conserved architecture and cultural values. The district, therefore, has maintained its approximately 150-year-old lifestyle and, especially during the summer season, there is an increase in short vacations, with the number of visitors sometimes reaching 5,000 at the weekends. Because of its proximity to two major cities - Istanbul and Ankara - it is preferred for excursions. The organization of different cultural 24

9 Journal of Educational Travel Volume 1, Number 1, January 2010 activities -such as festivals, trekking, and practice-based workshops- make Beypazari attractive for those who look for alternative choices for the weekends. Visitors go to the area in order to taste local foods and visit workshops where handicrafts are made, and participate in cultural activities. The introduction of tourism has revived the local cuisine. A variety of foods patented by the Turkish Patent Institute (TSE) are offered in the traditional houses, thus making the experience even more enjoyable (Municipality of Beypazari,2009; Uslu and Kiper, 2006). Besides its local cuisine and the traditional and authentic handicrafts, traditional clothing still survives in Beypazari. Each year in the first week of June, a festival is held in Beypazari titled the Festival for Traditional and Historical Houses, Handicrafts, Carrots, Dishes and Casseroles. There, domestic and foreign tourists attend exhibitions and concerts, and experience local foods and delights. In 2006, over 110,000 participants attended the Festival. There are also kite and youth festivals, religious ceremonies and music and folklore shows (Municipality of Beypazari, 2009). In addition to its houses, the Inozu Valley, The City History Museum, the Live Museum and the Beypazari Culture House serve to introduce the district s various civilizations and characteristics throughout history. The Public Education Center aims to represent the local handicrafts as an income-generating source. Also, the House of Nature was founded in order to introduce the natural values of the district and encourage people to participate in birdwatching activities. Other tourism attractions include Egriova, Teke, and Benli high plateaus, thermal springs, and Nallihan Bird Paradise which is habitat for 168 bird species (Municipality of Beypazari, 2009; Tanitkan, 2007). On the other hand, there is the practicebased education in the museums which is, in particular, popular with schools in Ankara and Istanbul. Beypazari is used commonly for promotional purposes in the mass media and, thanks to the efforts by the local municipality, tourism in the district has been gaining momentum since Several research studies have concluded that in order to maintain sustainability of all the above-mentioned potential in the district, resources should be used in a more balanced way paying regard to agriculture, tourism and environment. Similar conclusions have been reached in Agriculture, Tourism and Environment Workshop on Rural Development in Beypazari organized by Ankara University s Centre for Research on Environmental Issues, Faculty of Agriculture, and the Vocational School of Beypazari, with the Municipality of Beypazari and the Nature Association in With the help of an action plan designed for tourism development, the Municipality of Beypazari managed to obtain outstanding results. Today, the Municipality endeavours to promote the district as a brand destination focusing on culture, agriculture, industry, education, and tourism. The new policies indicated by the Municipality intend to make use of - and maintain - the local features, present in Beypazari. To achieve this, campaigns have been carried out with the use of media and advertising to address domestic and international tourists (Municipality of Beypazari, 2009). The following outcomes are expected from the policies: 1. Increase the number of visitors As laid out in Table 3, the visitor number has been increasing continuously since Sustain the production of handicrafts Thanks to the improvements in tourism, handicraft products that were once on the verge of disappearing have now become revitalized. Five years ago, the number of silverware shops was only 10; now there are over 32. These shops play an important role in the promotion and marketing of Beypazari by attending national and international events as well as different courses related to this craft. Filigree and other silver jewelleries are exported to 18 countries and mainly to Saudi Arabia. 3. Obtaining national patents for local foods ISSN: online The Educational Travel Foundation Limited. 25

10 BIRCAN ET AL. This, in turn, brings these products into the spotlight and contributes to the families economy. By doing so, the authorities intend to guarantee the quality of local food offered in the district. Among these items, carrot juice and Turkish delight, walnut candies, famous Beypazari cookies (such as kuru ), tarhana (a local soup), dried tomatoes and tomato and pepper pastes are very important. In addition, today approximately 1500 families earn their living by selling organic products grown in their gardens; 67 local food and 16 local handicraft stands serve in the district s market on certain days of the week as well as in tourism seasons. Additionally, there are 21 local food restaurants, 5 candy production and selling points and 7 bakeries. According to the aforementioned sources, the number of women who are now earning an income by offering their own products in the district has exceeded 650, compared to almost none in the past. Table 3. Number of tourists in the district (Municipality of Beypazari 2009). Year Number of tourists , , , , , , , , , , Create alternative jobs Unemployment in the region has dropped sharply due to the promotion of handicrafts and food products as well as the introduction of different marketing methods. Nowadays, there are other work alternatives than agriculture and house work - especially for the women in the district who have started to play a significant role in their family and the district s economy. 5. Conserve the traditional form and style of houses With the commencement of a project back in 1999, the external facades of the houses have been restored aiming to emphasize the original, historical structure of the city. In the first three and a half years of the project, the Municipality managed to restore some 540 houses to their original form. As a result, the value of wooden houses has increased 10 folds. While there were 86 immovable cultural assets (houses, fountains, Turkish baths, etc.) registered on July 9, 1976 by the High Commission for Ancient Works of Art and Monuments, this number increased to 283 according to Resolution of Regional Conservation Council dated January 18, Continue to promote tourism The Municipality of Beypazari has, so far, been awarded by a number of private and public organizations namely the International Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW)-Club Ankara, Deulcom International, Turkish Language Institution (TDK), The Union of Historical Towns founded by The Foundation for the Promotion and Protection of the Environment and Cultural Heritage (ÇEKUL), and the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen s Association (TUSIAD). Also, in the Atlas Conference held in Naples, Italy, in 2004, Beypazari was referred to as an example for best-practice. 7. Preserve the social values and living standards In general, the structure of historical city centres constitutes a consistent social balance. For this purpose, the Municipality of Beypazari established the Tourism Development Association with the aim of coordinating the constructive impact and strengths of tourism among the district s tradesmen, local authorities and the community as a whole. 8. Extend the geographical boundaries of the district 26

11 Journal of Educational Travel Volume 1, Number 1, January 2010 The boundaries of the area registered as first class archaeological and second class natural sites in the Inozu Valley of Beypazari were expanded with the resolution dated on May 16, 2008 by the Regional Council of Ankara for Conservation of Cultural and Natural Assets under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. 9. Preserve the integrity of the local language As a policy set by the local authorities, shops and other working places have been encouraged to use titles and writings in Turkish rather than other languages. In line with this, competitions were held in order to re-discover forgotten Turkish words and phrases, and as a result, some 5400 such items unique to the Beypazari region were revived. Afterwards, the City Council passed a resolution with the purpose of conserving Turkish language throughout the district. The Municipality won an award from the Institute of the Turkish Language (TDK) to encourage the use of Turkish as a symbol of its local identity (Municipality of Beypazari 2009). In Beypazari, some important steps have been taken with regards to accommodation facilities provided to tourists. Until 2001, there were only thermal springs and a few other accommodation facilities with limited capacity in or near the district. Today the disctrict is able to provide acoomodation for 1150 tourists in 16 motels, 4 hotels, and one thermal facility with 700 beds (Beypazari Municipality, 2009). NGOs and the Sustainability of Tourism in Beypazari Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have an important role in Beypazari in terms of the development of tourism at the local level. They serve as a guide and a pressure group in developing tourism policies as well as other related issues, such as conservation and the development of environmental, historical and community-related features (Unluonen and Sevim, 2005). The importance of diversification of tourism and the expansion of this diversification to all regions is emphasized in the report prepared by the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TURSAB) in 2003 where it is stated that NGOs should be improved (TURSAB, 2003). Non-Governmental Organizations, have conducted projects supported by the EU and GEF- SGP (Global Environment Facility-Small Grants Programme) of United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in order to conserve and develop cultural, historical and natural values in cooperation with the local community and its local tradesmen, the Municipality of Beypazari, and related departments of the local universities in Beypazari. With the help of these projects, the traditional houses, the historical bazaar, and its streets were renovated, and also birdwatching spots were identified and House of Nature was established. One of the accomplishments under an EU-funded project and undertaken by Italian experts, the ancient art of filigree and the local handicrafts were improved, expanded, and taken under conservation (Tumgazeteler, 2005). Besides this EU project, another project funded by GEF-SGP was implemented between December 2005 and April 2008 in the Inozu Valley in which the Doga Dernegi (or Nature Association in English) led the activities and the Municipality was a participant. The Inozu Valley, which is a natural and archaeological site, is one of the Important Bird Areas and Key Biodiversity Areas in Europe. On the rocks of this valley, there are breeding species such as the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), lanner falcon (Falco biarmicus), and black stork (Ciconia nigra), the Eurasian eagle-owl (Bubo bubo), lesser grey shrike (Lanius minor), red-billed chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax). Besides there are the European otter (Lutra lutra), and spurthighed tortoise (Testudo graeca) in the Valley (Nature Association, 2007). The Nature Association and Municipality of Beypazari try to encourage the locals to participate in and benefit from activities in the Valley. Under the scheme of this project, titled Practice of Nature Tourism in Beypazari-Inozu Valley, foods and other products were packaged depicting the local wildlife in different colours. Also, motifs representing natural life were designed and placed on filigree products. These efforts significantly improved the awareness of the locals as well as visitors. Signposts and information boards were set up ISSN: online The Educational Travel Foundation Limited. 27

12 BIRCAN ET AL. along the way to the Inozu Valley, providing both navigation and descriptions of the natural environment and its habitats. One of the traditional mansions belonging to the House of Nature was also established back in Practice-based trainings were delivered to local and other guides and Ankara University s tourist guide students for a period of two years. The first nature tours in Beypazari were organized by a travel agency under the supervision of the Nature Association. These two establishments continued their facilities throughout 2008 with the introduction of nature resorts, field trips for travel agency guides, and training on identifying bird species and spotting wildlife. Finally, in order to make tourism sustainable in the district, the entire operation was scrutinized by ecotourism and wildlife specialists, and new initiatives were devised to prepare a more comprehensive plan for nature tourism. In order to continue such activities in an organized manner, a city council was established by the Municipality under which a Tourism Task Group would be formed (Nature Association, 2007; SGP Bulletin, 2008). While endeavouring to show how to utilize the cultural and natural assets of Beypazari in tourism in a manner beneficial to the local people as well as Turkish tourism, this study suggests how an NGO can work in a fragile environment within the framework of sustainable tourism development. According to the definition of the World Tourism Organization in 2001, sustainable tourism development refers to the ability in fulfilling needs of tourists and local communities while protecting and increasing the potential for the future. From this point of view, the projects in Beypazari appear to conform to this definition since they not only involve the local community in the business activities beneficial to their own district, but also improve and sustain the opportunities for the future generations. Another important development in connection with understanding sustainable tourism is the establishment of Live Museum in Beypazari with the efforts of the local authorities. The culture of the region is also kept alive by means of various handicrafts (such as vein art or Ebru in the local language and linden printing), local foods cooked in ovens and served to the tourists, all of which take place in the museum garden (Demir, 2009). Discussion and Recommendations As a fast-growing phenomenon, tourism has become one of the largest industries in today s world. The opportunities created by tourism and its effects can be diversified. These effects include the socio-economic development of a given region, to sustain such development, and appreciation of the varieties of the lifestyles. Turkey, in recent years, has developed in terms of its qualified work force, technical infrastructure, quality hotels and services within the framework of sustainability. The outcomes include recovering the wildlife-improving overall living standards, creating its own resources, promoting independence (especially for women), competing with other tourism destinations, and achieving higher efficiency in time. According to the Tourism 2020 Vision research of the UNWTO: The number of experienced travellers will increase in parallel with the increase in education and prosperity level in the next decade; Communication technology will have an increasing importance in terms of the selection of destinations and the reservation process; Tourism activities for individuals over 65 will increase parallel with longer human life; and Single people and married couples without children will spend more time and money on travel and recreation. As a result, the continuity and sustainability of Turkish tourism destinations can be influenced by these policies and implementations on medium- to long-term (DPT, 2007). On the other hand, one can also see the negative impact of uncontrolled tourism development on the environment, and the culture of local communities. The spread of tourism in rural areas can also lead to considerable changes in such areas all over the world, 28

13 Journal of Educational Travel Volume 1, Number 1, January 2010 thereby increasing the need for a more sustainable and long-lasting approach to tourism. The following recommendations have significant importance in terms of sustainability of tourism and its destinations in Turkey: 1. Necessary rules and regulations, within the framework of tourism should be adopted in order to effectively provide quality assurance in all related practices, as well as coordination and management of services, technical infrastructure, and human resources; 2. There should be an established organization under the title of the General Council of Tourism ; 3. Vocational organizations should be further supported and protected by law; 4. Additional associations comprising the regional authorities should be established with the aim to create new destinations and provide sustainability for tourism (there are few examples of such establishments in Turkey, namely the Regional Tourism Association, the Council of Tourism, the Municipalities Council of Tourism Destinations); and 5. Further competition in the sector should be encouraged by means of the implementation of principles based on short and long-term strategic planning (DPT, 2007). Considering the case of Beypazari in this framework, it will be fair to say that the district has become considerably popular because of increased tourism activities. However, it is likely to encounter the danger of becoming a centre of mass tourism due to overcrowding as a result of excessive daily trips and interest from visitors, combined with the absence of proper planning to address such high demand. Therefore, although tourism has been on the rise in Beypazari, the need for sustainable development still remains a vital issue for the district. It has been promising to see that Beypazari is now in a transition period thanks to the contribution to local and central governments, as well as the conscious and devoted efforts of the local community. In this context, major developments and transformations have been observed in agriculture, tourism, environment and nature. It is important to study these changes that create an example at both national and international levels so as to devise effective plans and projects to be later put into practice. This, in turn, implies that all stakeholders (such as local communities, NGOs, governments, the tourism sector and local organizations) will have a crucial role in this regard; all of them should be examined carefully in the studies to be conducted with regard to the tourism sustainability in Beypazari. In this context, governance provides communities the tools for democratic delegation of social initiatives to the civil society based on a bottom-up approach. In the implementation model of governance, some principles such as transparency and participation in government, civil society, auditing and accountability arise (Saygilioglu and Ari, 2002). No matter where it is applied, governance includes cooperation, partnership and stakeholders. Therefore, and in particular, such a cooperation model is an indispensable instrument of local development (Corbino and Peralla, 2005). The initiatives for the preparation of sustainable tourism development strategy and visitor management plans for Beypazari and its neighbourhood should begin as soon as possible in order to provide a governance structure for sustainable administration of Beypazari in line with the above-listed principles. It goes without saying that NGOs will have an indispensable role in the process of promoting sustainability in Beypazari and as part of the initiatives set by the principles of governance. Among such roles will be: Raise awareness both at the national and international level; Arrange educational and training courses with regards to the destination s history, culture, nature, and environment; Assist local authorities to design new projects; Organize tours; ISSN: online The Educational Travel Foundation Limited. 29

14 BIRCAN ET AL. Improve the overall living standards of the communities by introducing new, profitable, and sustainable means of producing local goods and products; Supervise authorities in implementing new marketing strategies; and Raise funds and obtain small grants. Apart from the role of the NGOs, the Turkish authorities at the local and national levels should focus on a number of tasks; including the following: Diversify tourism activities; Provide the necessary infrastructure that include accommodation, recreational facilities, and transportation; Promote and facilitate transactions that involve local products; In general, create an atmosphere where each tourist is encouraged to spend more time at the destination. In other words, create such a diversified environment that individuals will consider themselves as tourists rather than mere visitors; and Encourage and help establish new foundations focus on tourism. To sum up, it should always be remembered that if tourism is well planned, monitored and controlled, development is ensured with the participation of all stakeholders (including NGOs). It adds an economic value to both natural and cultural features of a nation, contributing to the conservation of natural and cultural resources. The projects and voluntary activities which are conducted by the local authorities and NGOs in Beypazari is believed to make invaluable contributions by means of using sound strategies and raising the awareness of the local community. References BETAM (Bahcesehir University, Centre on Economic and Social Researches) (2008). Environment and Civil Society in Turkey: Organization and Recent Trends (In Turkish: Turkiye de Cevre ve Sivil Toplum:Orgutlenme ve Son Egilimler), (Retrieved from on May 29, 2009). Beunders, N., Klep, R., Tapanninen, M. and Gunes, G. (2007). Sustainable Tourism Development Strategy Guideline for Protected Areas of Turkey (In Turkish: Türkiye deki Korunan Alanlar ve Çevresinde Sürdürülebilir Turizm Geli im Stratejisi Rehberi). Turkish Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Dumat Ofset, 120pp., Ankara. Buckley, R. (2009). Ecotourism-PrinciplesandPractices, CABI Tourism Texts, p.185, Cambridge. Corbino, A. and Pennella, G. (2005). Europe-based Governance (In Turkish: Avrupa Baglaminda Yonetisim: talya Ornegiyle Karsilastirma ve lintilendirme). Conference on Local and Regional Cooperations Yerel ve Bolgesel Ortakliklar Konferansi, Sabanci Universy Istanbul (retrieved from Pennella.pdf). Demir, S. (2009). Live Museum (In Turkish: Ya ayan Müze) (retrieved from on June 20, 2009). DPT (Devlet Planlama Teskilati) (2006). 9 th Development Plan ( ) (In Turkish: 9. Kalkınma Planı : ). Official gazette: DPT (Devlet Planlama Teskilati) (2007). Report of Tourism Commission (In Turkish: Turizm Ozel htisas Komisyonu Raporu), Dokuzuncu Bes Yillik Kalkinma Programi (9th Programme of Five Year Development). Eagles, P.F.J., McCool, S. F. and Haynes, C.D. (2002). Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas: Guidelines for Planning and Management, IUCN Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. xv + 183pp. Gunes, G. (2008). Sustainable Tourism and Turkey. (In Turkish: Surdurulebilir Turizm ve Turkiye). Iz-Atilim University. May-2008, Number: 6, pp

15 Journal of Educational Travel Volume 1, Number 1, January 2010 Gurpinar, E. (2001). Protection of Cultural and Natural Assets (In Turkish: Kultur ve Tabiat Varliklarini Koruma Uzerine, stanbul Universitesi Siyasal Bilgiler Fakultesi Dergisi, No: 23-24, ( Ekim Mart 2001), stanbul. Keyman, F. (2004). Civil Society in Turkey and Europe (In Turkish: Turkiye de ve Avrupa da Sivil Toplum), Sivil Toplum ve Demokrasi, Konferans Yazilari, No:3, stanbul Bilgi Universitesi, Sivil Toplum Kuruluslari Egitim ve Arastirma Birimi, stanbul. Ministry of Tourism and Culture (2007). Tourism Strategy of Turkey-2023, (In Turkish: Turkiye Turizm Stratejisi-2023) Ankara, 62p. Municipality of Beypazari (2009). Beypazari, Retrieved from on May 25, Municipality of Beypazari (2009). Inventories and Statistics of Municipality (In Turkish: Belediye statistikleri), Unpublished. Nature Association (Doga Dernegi) (2007). Draft Ecotourism Plan of Inozu Valley, (In Turkish: Inozu Vadisi Taslak Ekoturizm Planı), 24 p. Ozdemir, G. (2008). Destination Marketing (In Turkish: Destinasyon Pazarlaması). Detay Yayinlari, 1. Baski, s.28-29, Ankara, Ozkaya, I. (2007). A Study on Cultural and Nature Assets (In Turkish: Kultur ve Tabiat Varliklarinin Korunmasi Uzerine Bir nceleme), Ekoloji Kolektifi, Retrived from on May 25, Province of Ankara (2007). Historical Silk Road and Ankara. (In Turkish:Tarihi pek Yolunda Ankara). Ankara l Ozel Idaresi, Ankara, 98 pp. Saygilioglu, N. Ve Ari, S. (2002). Effective State: An Institutional Design and Policy Recommendation, (In Turkish: Etkin Devlet: Kurumsal Bir Tasari ve Politika Onerisi). Sabanci Universitesi, Istanbul. Stoker, G. (1998). Governance as Theory: Five Propositions, ISSJ, UNESCO. pp Sahin,A.S.K. and Guner, S. (2006). Culture Heritage Conservation and the Relationship Among NGO s (In Turkish: Kulturel Miras Koruması ve Sivil Toplum Orgutleri Arasındaki liski), International Symposium of Traditional Arts, Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi Güzel Sanatlar Fakültesi, Sabanci Kültür Merkezi, zmir, 2. Cilt, s: SGP Bulletin (2008). Being Guest of Nature in Inozu, (In Turkish: Inozunde Dogaya Misafir Olmak), 6,(8), Tanitkan, R.P. (2007). Nallihan, Nallihan Kaymakamligi, Rekmay, 82 pp. Tourist Profile (2008) Efes Pilsen, Sprint Matbaa, Kasım Tumgazeteler (2005). Support for Beypazari silver, (In Turkish:Beypazari gumusu`ne destek). Retrieved from on May 26, Tuncay M. (2003). The Concepts Related with NGO s, (In Turkish: Sivil Toplum Kuruluslari ile Ilgili Kavramlar), Sivil Toplum Dergisi, 1,(1). TURSAB, (2003). Diversification of Tourism, (In Turkish: Turizmi Cesitlendirmek). Retrieved from on May 15, United Nations (1987). Our common future: Report of the The World Commission on Environment and Development, Bruntland, G. (ed.), Oxford, Oxford University Press. UNESCO (2009). World Heritage List. Goreme National Park and Rock Sites of Cappadocia, Retrieved from on May 25, UNWTO (2008). Tourism Highlights 2007, retrived from on May 19, UNWTO (2009). Tourism Barometer. retrieved from on January 1, Uslu, A. and Kiper, T. (2006). Tourism Impacts on Cultural Heritage: Public Awareness in the Case of Beypazari, (In Turkish: Turizmin Kulturel Miras Uzerindeki Etkileri. Beypazari- Ankara Orneginde Yerel Halkin Farkindaligi), Journal of Tekirdag Agricultural Faculty, 2006, 3(3), p Unluonen K. ve Sevim B. (2005). A Study on the Role of Local Authorities, NGO s, Educattion Institutions and Local Media in the Evaluation of Touristic Supply Sources: The example ISSN: online The Educational Travel Foundation Limited. 31

16 BIRCAN ET AL. of Zonguldak. (In Turkish: Turistik Arz Kaynaklarinin Degerlendirilmesinde Yerel Yonetimlerin, Sivil Toplum Orgutleri, Egitim Kurumlari ve Yerel Medyanin Rolune liskin Bir Uygulama: Zonguldak Ili Ornegi), Ticaret ve Turizm Egitim Fakultesi Dergisi, 2, 2005, p Yaman, M. (2000). Evaluation of Inozu Valley in the Open-Green Area System of Beypazari (In Turkish: Inozu Vadisi nin Beypazari Acik Yesil Alan Dokusu Icinde Irdelenmesi), Master Thesis (Unpublished), Ankara University, Landscape Architecture Department 32

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