Plain Vanilla or Turkish Delight?

How does a region sustain a growing tourist industry and allow for continued growth and development while maintaining its unique identity and sense of community?

turkish coast

This is the question that myself and a group of 11 other graduate students in Landscape Architecture, Architecture and Planning grappled with while studying the impacts of tourism and development on the Bodrum peninsula in Turkey.

Located on the Aegean coast, the Bodrum Peninsula is a region known for its pristine waters, archeological remains and vibrant arts scene. Tourism, once seen by the municipalities as the solution to their economic problems, has taken over the region causing rapid growth and development. Development, if gone unregulated, will transform this unique region into a series of generic resort communities no different from those seen in the coastal regions of Spain, France and Italy.

Planning for tourism is a balancing act which works to create harmony between the environment, the community, the economy, the quality of life, and the tourist experience. In the case of The Bodrum Peninsula, short term economic gain and a desire to cater to tourists has precedence over all else.

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  1. What solutions did your fellow students come up with that would offer the balance you
    are searching for.

    Do the resorts really offer no economic benefit?

  2. Sea Garden is an example of the type of foreign–owned resort development that has been expanding in the region. Resorts such as Sea Garden do everything they can to keep tourist dollars on site. While some employees are locals, many of the employees are seasonal workers from abroad who are fluent in several languages.

    While I plan to go into greater detail in the future posts, some of the recommendations that were made included;

    • Creating educational opportunities for local residents specifically focusing on the hospitality industry (business training, foreign language training etc.)

    • Placing a moratorium on new development until a strategic plan can be implemented to regulate the type, location and pace of new construction.

    • Rather than each municipality competing to attract tourists by offering all of the same amenities, each municipality should cater to a specific market based on their own unique offerings.

  3. Thank you, Jen. The solutions you listed make sense…..especially helping the locals
    become employable within the hospitality industry. Then everyone wins.

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