Simge Balaban / Anadolu Efes Corporate Communications Manager

The “Approach to Local Development”, which becomes more important for our country with each passing day, aims to ensure sustainable development in the economic, social and cultural areas, by setting local dynamics in motion.

As Anadolu Efes, we can say that local development has been one of our important focal points, both through the agricultural activities we have been carrying on for 35 years, and our projects in the field of tourism.

So, why is local development this important?

The rates of migration from villages to urban areas within our country display the importance of regional development very clearly. According to TUİK data, our population within the same geographical area was 13.648.000 in 1927. 76% of this population was living in villages and 24% in urban areas. According to the results of the address based registration system, which were announced in 2013, our population has reached 76.667.864, and close to 91.3% of this population lives in urban areas.

The requirement for alternative tools of development in today’s Turkey increases the importance of entrepreneurship in the field of tourism in regional advancement and local development.

We believe that one of the tools of local development, which will ensure that those living in rural areas are able to earn an income while at the same time continue their existing lifestyles by protecting their culture and environment, is sustainable tourism.

We have been saying that the Future is in Tourism, together with the partnership of the T.R. Ministry for Culture and Tourism and UNDP. Our support for sustainable tourism began with the Eastern Anatolia Tourism Development Project. Alongside local festivals such as bird watching, we organised activities such as photography, mountain hiking, mountain biking, camping, picnics, canoeing, sailing, rowing and water-skiing, in the project, which materialised in the Çoruh Valley. The interest in the region of both domestic and foreign tourists increased together with the project. As a result of the efforts to increase capacity, more than 20 guest houses began providing a service within the district. A development which made us happy was the announcement of Uzundere as a Tourism Centre, on the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers, last October.

Later, we started the Future is in Tourism Sustainable Tourism Support Fund, in 2013, with the aim of spreading this regional experience to the whole of Turkey. Through this project we are providing funding support to 3 separate sustainable tourism project ideas every year. We accept a wide range of project applications, such as the revival of an extinct craft, the establishment of an ecological village, the determination of cycling routes, nature sports, the raising of the recognition of a local product, and the education of the local people, especially the women.

I can say that the strongest aspect of our ‘the Future is in Tourism – Sustainable Tourism Support Fund project’, is that it is seeks solutions to local problems with local non-government organisations and public authorities. One of the most successful aspects of the project is that a common strength is created by the private sector, non-government organisations and the public sector.

This year, there have been 417 applications from 66 cities to our ‘the Future is in Tourism – Sustainable Tourism Support Fund project’. We believe that the interest in the fund will increase incrementally every year, and say the FUTURE is in TOURISM.

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