Türkiye’s ecotourism expansion targets 26 new areas in 2024

In a proactive move to enhance the resilience of forests in the face of global changes and promote long-term sustainability, Türkiye is set to introduce 26 new ecotourism areas this year, according to a report published on Sunday.

This strategic initiative aims to bolster the existing ecotourism sites and forecasts a substantial annual contribution of TL 2 billion ($66.4 million) to Türkiye’s vibrant tourism sector.

Through the General Directorate of Forestry (OGM), the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry is implementing various measures to continuously meet the public’s social, economic, cultural and spiritual needs and pass and preserve the forests from generation to generation.

The “Ecotourism Action Plan” was put into effect in 2021 to ensure the quality and efficient utilization of Türkiye’s forest resources, the report by Anadolu Agency (AA) indicated.

The budget of the action plan allocates the highest share to “identification and planning of areas suitable for ecotourism” and “preparation of integrated ecotourism plans for forest parks,” followed by “promotion for the development of ecotourism opportunities” and “meetings and training with relevant organizations and groups.”

Tourism areas

As part of the plan initiated for the first time in the 2017-2020 period, 28 ecotourism routes were made available to the public.

Within the framework of the action plan covering the period 2021-2025, the goal is to implement 110 ecotourism routes.

With the addition of 26 more ecotourism areas this year, the total number of routes, which currently stands at 99, is thus surpassing the target.

These areas are set to be located across several provinces starting from Adana, Çorum, Ankara, Antalya, Artvin, Balıkesir, Düzce, Yalova, Çanakkale, Uşak and Elazığ to Eskişehir, Kahramanmaraş, Giresun, Tekirdağ, Izmir, Kastamonu, Sivas, Konya, Kütahya, Mersin, Muğla, Kocaeli, Batman, Gümüşhane and Karabük.

As part of the plan, the goal is to increase the number of ecotourism areas to 200 by 2028.

In Türkiye, the ecotourism areas can be found in 54 of 81 provinces, from Adana in the south, the capital Ankara and western Çanakkale to the far east province of Erzurum, central Konya province and Zonguldak on the Black Sea coast.

Ecotourism goals

When planning ecotourism areas, forested villages included in the routes will become part of tourism destinations, and ecotourism planning around the attraction centers will contribute to the development of both the area and the local population.

The identification, planning and implementation of ecotourism areas as well as the integration of ecotourism planning into forest parks will enhance the attractiveness of existing areas.

By the end of 2025, the new “Ecotourism Management Plan and Practices” program aims to diversify and increase the tourism opportunities of ecotourism areas and contribute TL 2 billion a year to the country’s tourism destinations.

Ecotourism is a type of tourism based on nature travel but also incorporates the principle of sustainability and requires the use of environmentally friendly technologies and local resources.

In 1992, at the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, 182 countries, including Türkiye, signed “Agenda 21,”creating an action program. The goal was to emphasize the preservation of cultural assets and the environment and attach importance to economic activities.

Globally, the number of people undertaking ecotourism trips increased from 45 million in 1998 to 70 million in 2010 and 95 million in 2023. The estimated number of people engaging in ecotourism trips is expected to reach 98 million this year and rise to 125 million by 2030.

Countries such as Jordan, Costa Rica, Norway, Peru, Australia, New Zealand, Nepal and Italy actively participate in ecotourism activities.

Source: dailysabah

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