United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Future is in Tourism

UNDP Turkey CO (
United Nations / Multilateral body

    With the partnership of Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Anadolu Efes, “Future is in Tourism Project” positions tourism as a tool for sustainable development, encourages entrepreneurship at local level, provides capacity building, gathers public sector, private sector, academia and civil society to create sustainable models, and thus support tourism in Turkey. Future is in Tourism Sustainable Tourism Support Fund was launched with a view to establishing tourism as an alternative developmental tool in Turkey, creating local models by encouraging entrepreneurship, and contributing in tourism by bringing together the public, private sector, universities, civil society and local communities. The project conducts its activities through a grant scheme and training programs, with a view to develop best practice examples and contribute to knowledge sharing in sustainable tourism implementation. Until now, 18 grant projects have been implemented with financial, technical and communication support. One of the grants projects, Lavender Scented Village is a good model on sustainable tourism. Kuyucak Village of Isparta supplies 93% of lavender production in Turkey. By means of the project; it was aimed to revitalize the rural tourism in the Kuyucak Village, to ensure the product diversity of lavender, to ensure income generation for local community and to mobilize the employment and entrepreneurial potential in the region. The Lavender Scented Village Women Entrepreneurs Cooperative was established, and women were given trainings on the areas such as rural tourism, product design, guesthouse management, entrepreneurship, medical aromatic plants, hygiene, good conversation, and cooperative system. The destination was visited by 20 thousand tourists during the summer season of 2016, while this number reached 1 million in 2019. In 2020, the number of visitors were 400 thousand because of the pandemic. Moreover, this project provided to reverse the migration cycle and motivated youth and women to participate in tourism value chain by increasing income levels. Also, inclusion of women into active workforce represented an example to the rest of the town and region.


    Sustainable tourism is an approach in which the environment, whether human kind is in interaction with or not, is preserved without degradation or changing, where the cultural integrity, ecological process, biological diversity and life support systems are being maintained and at the same time all resources are being managed so that the hosts' and tourists' needs would be satisfied and also the future generations could meet the same requirements. A suitable balance of the economic, social and environmental aspects of tourism is necessary to establish sustainability. Economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainable tourism development must include the interests of all stakeholders including indigenous people, local communities, visitors, industry and government. Tourism sector operates through a vast network of inter-connected and related industries. Therefore, sustainable tourism activities implemented within this diversified value chain of tourism contributes greatly to the achievement of sustainable development goals. Future is in Tourism” has become a sustainable tourism brand in Turkey and contributes directly and indirectly to the following sustainable development goals: SDG1, SDG2, SDG5, SDG8, SDG10, SDG11, SDG12, SDG14, SDG15. For example, A Day in Ovacık Village Grant Project is a good model for localization of SDG 12. Through this project, it is aimed to develop an experience-based tourism model by providing the visitors with the opportunity to experience local tastes from field to fork, local culture and traditions. It is also targeted to increase the economic welfare level and life quality of the local people by means of responsible tourism activities to be implemented in Ovacik, a forest village that is 60 km to İstanbul and 10 km to Şile. Experience-based tourism model by providing visitors the opportunity to experience local tastes from field to fork, local culture and traditions. The project enables the local people to grow their traditional food, harvest (in a Permaculture garden) and experience the art of cooking. Recipes will be prescribed with traditional food trainings. While all these are being experienced, local people and visitors will be informed within the principles of responsible tourist and responsible business. The aim is diversifying the livelihoods of local people and income generation by creating a sustainable tourism initiative. As The 2030 agenda puts forward, development and growth are the sole responsibility of all development actors composed of the government, private sector, academia and non-governmental institutions – all of which are involved in the sustainable tourism ecosystem. Future is in Tourism is prestigious and is highly visible project and has received numerous awards over the years.

    Contribution to SDG Implementation

    Future is in Tourism defines sustainable tourism in terms of natural resources, cultural unity, ecological processes and biological diversity systems that are protected during use. It also stipulates that resources should be utilised to meet the economic, social and aesthetic needs of the current and future visitors. The application process asks for three distinct elements from the applicants: sustainability orientation, multi-stakeholder involvement, and contribution to SDGs. Shortlisted project owners are invited to a working meeting, after which they are encouraged to present their projects and receive feedback from the representatives of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, UNDP and Anadolu Efes, tourism experts, academicians, and other professionals. During the meeting a comprehensive training is given on SDGs and 2030 Agenda as well as on how they can improve their projects accordingly. The applications are being revised with respect to the comments of the panel. The project partners then follow the progress of the projects through site visits and reports, provide technical support in project management, and publicise the projects at the national level. Grant holders are also asked to report on which SDGs they contribute. - Within the scope of 18 grant projects, 304 women were employed directly / indirectly. 2 NGOs have been established and 21 NGOs, 47 public institutions, 8 universities have been supported. 132 NGOs, 286 public institutions, 61 private institutions, 53 universities participated awareness raising trainings and more than 5,000 people received tourism certificates. Future is in Tourism has become a sustainable tourism brand in Turkey and plays crucial role for localization of SDGs.

    Implementation methodologies

    Key components of the activities included: • Needs Assessment (In order to implement a sustainable project a need assessment was conducted) • Project Activity Plan (Project activities planned based on the needs assessment) • Monitoring and Evaluation • Awareness Raising Activities, Capacity Building Trainings, Seminars, Media, Conference etc. • Monitoring sustainable tourism development actions in project destinations with respect to defined indicators and SDGs. • Communication budget is allocated for each project by Anadolu Efes apart from the grant.


    Sustainable tourism has a critical role in terms of to support job creation, promote inclusive social integration, protect natural and cultural heritage, conserve biodiversity, generate sustainable livelihoods and improve human wellbeing. In the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development SDG target 8.9, aims to “by 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products”. The importance of sustainable tourism is also highlighted in SDG target 12.b. which aims to “develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products”. Future is in Tourism has become a well-known brand on sustainable tourism both in Turkey and abroad. Future is in Tourism conducts its activities through a gender responsive grant scheme and training programmes, with a view to develop best practice examples and contribute to knowledge sharing and job creation especially for local women. The project targets rural communities and especially women since women living in rural areas are generally working as domestic laborers. In all implementations under the project, raising awareness on sustainable tourism development has been ensured in order to conserve the natural and cultural heritage including the intangible cultural heritage that the tourism sector depends on. Moreover, the project creates awareness on people about the balance between conservation and usage of the natural resources to prevent negative impacts on tourism. The crucial results of the project are listed below.  18 community based sustainable tourism destination was supported and the capacity of local people was increased through awareness raising activities, trainings, seminars and experience sharing visits.  21 NGOs, 8 university, 47 local authorities were supported through grant projects. 304 women employed through grant projects. 529 institutions benefitted from capacity building trainings (132 NGOs, 286 public institutions, 61 private institutions, 53 universities). 2114 people benefitted from capacity building trainings where 1104 were women.  Women NGOs were supported to raise awareness on sustainable tourism and increase opportunities for employment and decent work.  Women’s entrepreneurship was supported to include women into tourism value chain.  Capacity building and awareness raising activities developed for local authorities and local NGOs in the field of sustainable tourism were carried out.  Traditional buildings were restored to be used as tourism facilities.  The best examples of local traditional architectural heritage were restored to conserve and sustain its usage with a new function.  The natural and cultural heritage has been promoted by supporting local socio-economic development of the region.  Awareness raising has been created on the value of the natural and cultural heritage  Usage of renewable resources was encouraged by the projects.  Women were encouraged to work collectively so that they will feel empowered both economically and socially.  Livelihoods and employability opportunities were improved focusing on women, rural and the urban poor and young women in tourism sector and/or other related sectors.  An academic paper was prepared on small-sized tourism projects in rural areas: the compounding effects on societal wellbeing and published at Journal of Sustainable Tourism.

    Factors and Constraints

    With this project following new approaches, prototypes implementation and lessons learned:  A unique cooperation model was developed which included a public authority, international organization and private sector.  Capacities and competencies of the local stakeholders developed through tailor-made capacity development programmes with a view to secure smooth implementation of the programme at the pilot locations.  Throughout the project implementation good dialogue was built among partners. The project team was able to create a qualified team of experts for the delivery of good quality reports. During the project cycle, partners and stakeholders worked collaboratively in order to support sustainable community-based tourism in Turkey.  Field visits, focus group meetings and workshops were used as useful tools to understand the gaps and problems in the sustainable community based tourism area. The friendly environment created within corresponding organizations made it easy for stakeholders to share their experiences and views, therefore identifying problems and coming up with solutions became easier.  The localization of SDGs achieved through sustainable tourism development through development of tourism products and services tailored for local people with lower income, encouraging and supporting participation of women.  The project contributed to the gender equality awareness in the sector whereas created income for women in the tourism sector.  The project precisely contributed to localize SDG #1 End Poverty; SDG#5 Gender Equality; SDG#8 Decent Work and Economic Growth; SDG#12 Responsible Consumption and Production.

    Sustainability and replicability

    Within the scope of MoU with Bogazici University, an analytical paper with the support of UNDP Project Team was prepared on sustainable tourism at the book 'Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility in Tourism', which contains articles from academicians from 70 different countries. Future is in Tourism was pointed as the best sustainable tourism practice in Turkey at that book. The sustainable tourism models were replicated to support SDGs in different destinations. For example, Lavender Scented Village Project as a sustainable tourism model was replicated in other destinations of Turkey. The experience based sustainable tourism models created by Future is in Tourism, were addressed as a case study for many academic publications.

    COVID-19 Impact

    The grant projects which are “Kars Cheese Route in Kars, “Journey of Linen in Ayancık” in Sinop-Ayancık and “Home of Aromatic Plants in Köycegiz” in Muğla-Köyceğiz supported in 2020 were affected negatively by the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant projects should have been started in February 2020. However, the grant agreements were signed, and projects started their implementation in July 2020. Three scenarios were prepared regarding the implementation of the project activities and the timeline of the grant projects according to the effects of covid-19. The implementation of the work plan has been monitored closely and actions were taken regarding delays due to Covid-19. All the project activities were reviewed under the circumstances of Covid-19 and activities were revised accordingly. Online monthly project meetings were held with all the partners of the grant projects for effective project implementation. Specific trainings such as hygiene, digital literacy and social media management were included in the activities of grant projects. For Kars Cheese Route Project, it has been planned to create QR codes that identifies hygiene standards for cheese production. Within the scope of Journey of Linen in Ayancık Project and Home of Aromatic Plants in Köycegiz Project, social distancing measures were taken into consideration at these buildings. Signs, tape marks, or other visual cues such as decals or coloured tape on the floor, placed 2 metre apart, were put in place to show where to stand. Trainings, meetings, workhops, webinars were organized online.

    This initiative does not yet fulfil the SMART criteria.
    01 September 2012 (start date)
    31 December 2021 (date of completion)
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    Contact Information

    Busra, Project Associate