Home Travel Alternative Tourism in Turkey: Role, Potential Development and Sustainability
I Setting the Context
Globalization, Mass Tourism, and Sustainable Development
By European standards, Turkey is a large country, situated at the crossroads of many historical and contemporary civilizations. Being blessed with great geographical variation and numerous natural, historical, and cultural resources, Turkey also has the advantage of being located close to the European, Russian, and Middle Eastern tourism markets. Although tourism started later in Turkey than in other European countries, the industry developed very fast (Akkemik 2012; Tosun et al. 2003). Today, Turkey is fourth in Europe and third in the Mediterranean region for international arrivals (Table 1.1). It is also among the top 10 countries in the world in terms of international tourism receipts (Table 1.2).
Development of mass tourism in Turkey, as in other parts of the world, could be seen as the result of a general move toward free market economics and carries the perception that tourism can be used as a political tool for development (Marson 2011). Turkey decided to focus on tourism as an alternative to other development strategies because it brought the necessary foreign currency into the country, created jobs, and promised to generate a more favorable image of Turkey as a country open for international exchange (Tosun et al. 2004). Tourism was also employed as a tool to encourage Europeanization, especially in light of Turkey’s application for full membership in the European Union (Tosun and Jenkins 1996).
There is evidence that the development of the tourism sector has been, indeed, critical for Turkey’s economic development. A number of studies found that tourism receipts represent an important contribution to foreign exchange earnings,
I. Egresi (H)
© Springer International Publishing AG 2016
I. Egresi (ed.), Alternative Tourism in Turkey, GeoJournal Library 121, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-47537-0_1
Table 1.1 International tourist arrivals
* Not including Hong Kong and Macau Source UNWTO (2015)
Table 1.2 International tourism receipts*
* The list does not include Hong Kong (USD 38.4 billion) and Macau (USD 50.8 billion) ** Not including Hong Kong and Macau Source UNWTO (2015)
gross domestic product (GDP), employment generation, and economic growth (Okumus et al. 2012; Tosun 1999; Gunduz and Hatemi 2005; Zortuk 2009; Kaplan and Celik 2008). However, most of this tourism development has been in the mass tourism sector, or the so-called sun-sea-sand tourism (Alvarez and Korzay 2011; Tosun et al. 2008; Okumus et al. 2012; Tosun and Timothy 2001). Mass tourism development, in the absence of proper planning, has happened in a haphazard manner leading to numerous environmental and sociocultural problems (Tosun 1998), and many have argued that the environmental and sociocultural impacts outweigh the economic benefits of mass tourism (Marson 2011).
This first chapter will introduce the reader to some of the primary concepts recurring throughout this book such as “sustainable development,” “sustainable tourism,” and “mass tourism.” First, we will define the concept of mass tourism and will provide a short account on the development of mass tourism in the Mediterranean Basin. Then, we will explain the concept of globalization and examine the main drivers and facilitators of globalization. We argue that the rapid development of mass tourism in Turkey, starting with the 1980s, can be best understood in the context of global changes. We explain how processes of globalization have enabled the rapid growth of the industry, especially in its mass form. Next, in light of discussions in this book over the sustainability of mass and alternative forms of tourism, we proceed to conceptualize and frame “sustainable development,” “sustainability,” and “sustainable tourism.” Finally, in the last part of the chapter, we shortly introduce the two chapters that are included in Part I.
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