Project Name: Tourism Development in Eastern Anatolia Region (TDEAP)

Timeline: April, 2007 – October, 2012

Location: Coruh Valley- Northeastern Anatolia, Turkey (Ispir and Uzundere districts of Erzurum and Yusufeli district of Artvin)

Project Funding: EFES Company as the private sector partner provides financial support as well as public relations support

Implementing Partners:

United Nations Development Progamme Turkey Country Office

Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism

EFES Company

What is our mission?

To develop a functional and participatory model of sustainable utilization of natural and cultural assets of the Çoruh Valley within the framework of tourism.

What has been the situation?

Although the project region is highly abundant in terms of natural richness and cultural values with a wide-ranging diversity no sign of improvement is observed in terms of creating alternative sources for rural income. Conservative socio-cultural structure, the lack of awareness concerning environmental values and problems of infrastructure hindered the development of a local tourism sector.

On April 2007 when the project was set out, no accommodation facility did exist in Uzundere and Ispir that would serve for tourism. And in the district of Yusufeli and in its villages a few number of boarding houses existed with insufficient service standards. Besides, the daily facilities like restaurant and camping/picnic fields serving for tourism were quite inadequate as well. Although local authorities took an interest in developing tourism, they were not competent enough to carry out this project at an expert-level. Furthermore, the attempts aimed for development of human and social capital were despised.

The region was quite poor in terms of local civil society organizations. There was no local NGO for the tourism improvement. Participation of women and girls to social and economic life was extremely restricted

Short Summary of the Project:

The main goal of TDEAP is to transform the Coruh Valley into one of the prominent destinations of alternative tourism with a view of environmental and cultural conservation and sustainable human development and to provide support for the efforts of enhancing life standards of the people of the region with an increase in employment and income level. In order to achieve this goal, three basic objectives were determined:

  1. Identifying and taking inventory of the region’s environmental, natural and cultural values scientifically with the local community and in light of these inventories, improving “tourism products and services” devoted to all fascinations of alternative tourism by means of the participatory methods protecting the cultural values and targeting local ownership.
  2. An effective promotion of the region and project studies through various channels to the target market and interest groups,
  3. Capacity building at the local level and carrying out an “exit strategy” in order to mobilize the internal and external resources for development with the aim of ensuring economic and environmental sustainability of the activities started with the project.

Several steps within the project:

  • Tourism wealth that has been identified is transformed into tourism promotion materials and shared with the target group (brochures, maps, signboards, etc.)
  • The important actors in the target market, in particular, tour operators are informed about the region and the region is included in the alternative tour programmes
  • Awareness of tourism is raised in the local community, more than 300 local people are trained in tourism products and tourism skills
  • The number of people especially the youngsters and women earning income from tourism has increased.
  • Bed capacity being almost zero was increased to 150 by putting more than 20 boarding houses into action and by means of the continuation of opening of new pensions.
  • Many groups, majorly university student clubs and nature clubs organizing tours to the region and the continuation of these organizations increasing every year.
  • Support given to the formation of 3 non-governmental organizations, two of which are related to the youth, the nature sports and the other is to a women’s association aiming to improve natural food processing and local handicrafts
  • Organization of local festivals (Bird watching Festival, Gastronomy Festival, etc.) one of which has become known on an international scale
  • The preparation of a tourism development strategy and action plans by the local authority at regional and local scales as a result of capacity building and advocacy activities to raise awareness regarding the importance of the tourism sector in terms of regional development.