Essay: Travel and Tourism Investments

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Travel and Tourism Investments in Rural Regions of Turkey: Opportunities and Threats

As the crossroads between Asia and Europe, Turkey has long been the destination for travelers seeking adventure, and it is not surprising that this geographic proximity has helped grow the country's travel and tourism industry in recent years. In fact, over the past three decades, the Turkish travel and tourism industry has experienced explosive growth, and current projections indicate this growth will continue at least until mid-century. Indeed, Turkey has much to offer international tourists of all types, including medical tourism, cultural-heritage tourism, wildlife tourism and adventure tourism, among many others. In order to take advantage of these trends, it is important to identify opportunities to expand existing offerings to include other potential destinations that are "off the beaten track." To this end, this paper provides a review of the relevant literature concerning travel and tourism in Turkey in general and how investments in rural regions of the country represent a timely and valuable enterprise in particular, followed by a summary of the research and important findings concerning these issues in the conclusion.

Review and Analysis

Founded in 1923 by "The Father of the Turks," Mustafa Kemal or Ataturk, Turkey has emerged in the 21st century as an important Western ally and valuable trading partner (Turkey, 2014). The country's geographic proximity to Europe and Asia has made it a destination of choice for decades, and current signs point to a major growth in Turkey's travel and tourism in the future. For example, Garvey (2011) reports that, "Over the past three decades the tourism industry in Turkey has boomed. Between 1980 and 2010, tourism receipts grew from $300 million to $20.8 billion. And the industry continues to grow" (p. 25). In fact, the Turkish travel and tourism industry is expected to generate revenues in excess of $45 billion by 2020 (Garvey, 2011).

Although there are a number of popular urban destinations in Turkey, there are also a number of opportunities for promoting rural destinations as well. For instance, the definition of "rural" provided by Black's Law Dictionary (1991) states simply that "rural concerns the country, as opposed to urban (concerning the city)" (p. 1334). A study of Turkey travel and tourism industry by Kasli and Avcikurt (2008) identified a paucity of relevant training for the Turkish travel and tourism sector concerning the country's rural destinations. These are important needs because the relative attractiveness of potential travel and tourism destinations in rural regions of Turkey along the Mediterranean (see map of Turkey in Figure 1 below), for example, will depend in large part on their prevailing climatic… [END OF PREVIEW]

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