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Importance of Sustainable Tourism Development

Importance of Sustainable Tourism Development
Photo by tourism-review.com

As an experienced lecturer in the fields of tourism, human resources, and many related fields, Burçin (Kalabay) Hatipoğlu is the co-founder of Heritage & Slow TourismLAB. The Heritage & Slow TourismLAB is an independent think tank for experts – academics, professionals, and business owners. Currently, she is an associate researcher in UNSW Canberra, Australia. Previously she was an assistant professor at Bosphorus University, Turkey and she was absolute tourism professional in Turkey. And she is a real supporter of sustainability and tourism and a very valuable person who has signed many projects. Some of them are Thrace Region Sustainable Tourism Master Plan, Evaluating the “Future Lies in Tourism” Projects in cooperation with UNDP, Human Aspect as a Critical Factor for Organization Sustainability in the Tourism Industry, and many more… Today, we will be talking about the importance of sustainable tourism development.

Biography of Burçin (Kalabay) Hatipoğlu

NameBurçin (Kalabay) Hatipoğlu
NationalityTurkish
ResidencyAustralia
JobCo-founder of Heritage & Slow TourismLAB / Lecture
Social Media Accounts LinkedIn / Burçin Hatipoğlu

1- You are a lecturer who had education about management and human resources. Why did you prefer to lead your career on sustainability and sustainability specific to the tourism industry?

My postgraduate profession was onto sustainability reporting so I have already been continuing in that department. I am currently in an area where sustainability and human resources intersect. As a consequence of my academic and professional work sustainability gets involved. I can say that I am in the area in which these three subjects intersect.

2- What is sustainable tourism? What comprises your sustainability definition?

Tourism sustainability date back to eco-tourism and alternative tourism. The words we use are always changing, but we can say very close understandings and terms. Sustainable tourism is somewhat opposed to mass tourism in general terms. But that doesn’t mean mass tourism won’t be sustainable. There are works on the sustainability of mass tourism. The areas I work in are mostly eco-tourism, alternative-tourism, and rural tourism areas. It is a type of tourism that develops the areas, protects the nature- historical culture, and develops it. We will prevent rural people from migrating to the city with the sources that improve the local people and visitors’ quality of life and developing knowledge and skills. We will ensure that they continue to live in the countryside instead of the city life they think of.

Importance of Sustainable Tourism Development

3- Sustainable tourism is still mostly limited to academic research. Although active organizations are working on sustainable tourism, this concept has not yet been fully adopted. As an academic, what would you like to suggest to future tourism managers who are trained in this field? However, what kind of measures can we take individually towards the goal of making tourism sustainable in our country? How can individuals outside the tourism sector contribute towards this goal?

We wanted academic experts who we educated to let them work in public institutions, work in local governments and do such projects rather than let them do just doctorate studies. Countries need graduates who are focusing on just that area especially in municipalities and local government because the main projects and activities are creating and developing by experts there. The sustainable tourism projects are small scale we are not onto that projects as much as we are onto mass tourism but when we go into detail I can say that there are great projects even if there are fewer.

Consumers should be made aware. We become responsible tourists by consuming local foods wherever we go and by doing our activities without harming nature. My understanding is not to see too many places, but to get to know the people of the place we go, to see what they eat and drink, to get to know the traditions, and to interact with them.

4- What kind of work have you carried out towards the goal of sustainable tourism during your career?

In 2012, I managed the TÜSİAD sustainable tourism workshop. We conducted a project with TROP for Istanbul hotels, in order to understand their competitiveness and to understand their sustainable practices. Thrace development agency received consultancy from us. Thrace development agency received consultancy from us, we wrote the strategic development plan of Thrace for a year, of course, in the light of sustainability principles. The next year, I received an EU fund of 240 thousand euros. It took a full year to develop vocational tourism food and beverage vocational training in Thrace. I set up a kitchen. I organized career days at three universities there, where women with disabilities and Roman citizens were trained.

Most recently, we contributed to the development of a tourism project in Şile, Istanbul, that project was among the future tourism projects. We collaborated with a project which is called “Planet happens” that measures the happiness of people. This project was one of the firsts and we created a large community in a short time.

Green fields in Australia

5- We know that you are currently continuing your studies in Australia. In this context, can you compare the awareness of sustainable tourism and the studies carried out in Turkey with those in Australia?

I don’t work in the tourism field here. We can say that I came to take a break from touring. I don’t examine tourism in Australia much, I just observe it. Tourism is one of the 5 main sectors for Australia, almost half of the Australian population, with 9.3 million tourists only in 2019. A country that has developed tourism in the last 20 years is very successful not only in its overseas marketing but also in its domestic tourism activities. The shows they did about art, especially spread over 12 months, were very successful.

In the last 1 year, they have completely turned into domestic tourism. Here, regions competed with each other and there are continuous campaigns in competition with each other. These campaigns are projects that encourage short trips aimed entirely at domestic tourists, especially those that direct them from the coastline to the interior. We cannot do integrative programs in Turkey, we need to do more regional programs.

6- According to the understanding of the majority, tourism is a process that starts at the airport and continues in hotels, and participates in certain touristic trips in different cities. In what way does the understanding of sustainable tourism involve changing how much of this process comes to mind first?

Mass tourism can also be sustainable. Hotels should at least review their supply chains, review their operational processes. It is necessary to review the injustices they do to their employees and their long hours of work, few hotels do this. I think that in a country with such a rich history, it should be based on history rather than nature. When we look at the understanding of responsible tourism, everything concerns us as travelers.

7- Perhaps one of the sectors most affected by the pandemic is tourism. Is the sustainable approach ignored while trying to heal the wounds of this crisis, which still has the same effects?

We’ll see when we live, it is hard to change people’s habits. It’s hard to predict, but when the pandemic is completely over, people may travel more, but I think everyone will be very nervous for another 4-5 years.


You can listen to the podcast version of this interview in Turkish on Spotify!

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