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Public Policy and Sustainable Alternative Tourism

Fatma Gul Turanligil


Tourism is a sociocultural and economic event with broad economic, social, cultural, and environmental consequences. Tourism should be accepted not only as an economic activity that creates positive economic impulses and expands rapidly but also as an activity that can harm artificial and natural environments and create social and cultural problems (Kerimoglu and ?rraci 2008). On a large scale, this is generally referred to as ‘mass’ tourism (Dowling and Fennell 2003). Many governments in developing countries have perceived tourism as an important means to stimulate economic growth. Thus, those developing countries have frequently concentrated on the economic impacts of tourism development and ignored the broader issues (Tosun 1998). The rapid growth of the tourism industry and the harmful effects of mass tourism on natural environment have led to higher interest in sustainable and community-based alternative tourism (Turker 2010), which collectively are referred to as ‘alternative’ tourism (Dowling and Fennell 2003). As a result of changing philosophy of tourism and needs of tourists, ‘new’ forms of tourism appeared in developing countries (Turker 2010).

Turkey, as a developing country, adopted tourism not only as an alternative economic growth strategy, but also as a tool to create a favorable image on the international platform through exemplifying immediate implementation of an outward-oriented economic development policy (Tosun and Jenkins 1996) that seemed to have been essential just after the 1980 military coup which was ushered into combat corrupt party politics and serious social unrest and to preserve the democracy in the country (Ayata 1994 cited in Tosun 1998). The civilian government which came to power following the military government in 1983 saw tourism as an easy, effective, and relatively cheap instrument to achieve export-led

F.G. Turanligil (H)

Izmir, Turkey

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I. Egresi (ed.), Alternative Tourism in Turkey, GeoJournal Library 121, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-47537-0_22

industrialization as a core principle of the January 24 Economic Stabilization Measurements formulated by the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1980. However, these could not be implemented due to the socioeconomic and political crisis in the country (Tosun 1998).

In the 1990s, with the deep impact of globalization, the increasing environmental awareness in the world and in Turkey initiated new concepts such as sustainable development and soft tourism. In this period, the development of tourism was still encouraged, but it was also realized that tourism was not a miracle solution to all economic problems and that an unsustainable tourism policy could destroy the cultural and natural resources of a country. Therefore, the scope of the problem within the conceptual framework of public policymaking has been broadened (Nohutpu 2002).

Based on the relevant literature review, the aim of this chapter is therefore to analyze the role of public policy in the sustainability of tourism. This review is followed by a discussion of the role of the public policy on the sustainability of tourism in Turkey. Further, Turkish public policies about alternative tourism are discussed. Finally, the chapter offers recommendations and suggestions for policy makers toward better policy management regarding sustainable tourism and minimizing the negative impacts of tourism.

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