Sustainable Tourism Program
Türkiye, for the purpose of utilizing the supply resources of tourism including natural, cultural and social aspects by considering the balance of protection-utilization and developing and globally promoting these aspects without jeopardizing any of them, has been improving national sustainable tourism standards in cooperation with its domestic and international stakeholders. Türkiye Sustainable Tourism lndustry Criteria (TR-I) have been built to ensure sustainable growth of the Turkish tourism industry and to develop a common understanding about Turkish tourism with the participation of all tourism stakeholders. TR-I was developed to be implemented by accommodation facilities and tour operators. in this respect, TR-I includes both criteria that comply with the social and cultural structure of Türkiye and globally recognized sustainable tourism criteria. TR-I was established under four main themes: sustainable management; socio-economic impacts; cultural impacts and environmental impacts. TR-ı standard includes mandatory principles and practices of the Republic of Türkiye Ministry of Culture and Tourism to be adopted by the Turkish tourism industry within the framework of various criteria, and compliance with the TR-I standard will only be achieved on the basis of the criteria specified in this document.
TR-I standard was introduced with the cooperation of all industries and international institutions under the guidance of the Republic of Türkiye Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Türkiye Tourism, Promotion and Development Agency (TGA). TGA is dedicated to delivering Türkiye as a brand and a popular destination in both domestic and international tourism markets; discover, develop and promote tangible and intangible natural, cultural, biological and manmade heritage assets; boost the tourism capacity of Türkiye, increase the rate of tourism investments in the national economy and raise the quality of service with short, medium and long-term communication and marketing activities. Following the innovative and sustainable tourism strategies and policies of the Türkiye Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Agency carries out all promotion, marketing and communication activities to serve the country’s tourism goals, and promote and market current tourism opportunities across the globe.
The process of developing the TR-I was designed to adhere to the criteria of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), the international body providing guidance for the development of sustainability standards for tourism. in this context, TR-I have adopted all GSTC criteria for Industry as they have been introduced by GSTC and additionally two new criteria were set by considering the social, cultural and structural features specific to tourism in Türkiye. TR-I will be revised every 3-5 years to comply with the updating peri od of the GSTC criteria. More details on revision plans and signing up to allow anyone interested to comment on future revisions are available at the website tga.gov.tr. This website also includes information about the criteria development process and its historical progress.
Preamble Some of the uses of the TR-I include the following:
- Serve as a bas is for the certification of Türkiye Sustainable Tourism Criteria implemented throughout Türkiye by the tourism industry.
- The criteria serve as basic guidelines for enterprises of all sizes that wish to become more sustainable and aim to en sure these enterprises contribute to the sustainable growth of tourism in Türkiye.
- The criteria help to increase awareness in the Turkish society, visitors, travelers, tourism industry and tourism investors on the principles and practices of sustainable tourism.
- The criteria serve as a framework aimed at effective promotion and marketing for recognizing sustainable tourism providers.
- The criteria make a significant contribution in Türkiye to full fill its obligations arising from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the European Green Deal within the scope of sustainable tourism and various environmental labels.
- Define a basic approach and framework aimed at the cooperation of government, civil society, NGOs, academia and private sector to further develop sustainable tourism policies, practices and requirements.
- Serve as basic guidelines for education and training bodies, such as universities and tourism schools.
- Provide leadership to the industry and investors in a manner as to encourage and promote sustainability practices.
- Help to provide greater access to various markets by increasing the competitiveness of Türkiye within the scope of the criteria in the growing global tourism market and sustainable tourism products and provide guidance for both travelers and travel agencies in choosing enterprises that adopt sustainable tourism practices.
The criteria indicate what should be done, but not how to do it or whether the goal has been achieved. What is required and how to comply with these criteria is defined by performance indicators, associated educational materials and access to tools for implementation, all of which complement the criteria and are further specified in the Handbook prepared by TGA and made available to the industry.
More information about these criteria and guidance is available on the Republic of Türkiye Ministry of Culture and Tourism and TGA websites. Unless otherwise justified by valid reasons that it is irrelevant for a specific condition, the Republic of Türkiye Ministry of Culture and Tourism requires the entire Turkish tourism industry to adhere to all of these criteria. The exceptional conditions and other rules are identified by the Republic of Türkiye Ministry of Culture and Tourism and transparently communicated with industrial stakeholders and the public.