The Impact of Tourism on the Cultural Environment in Turkey: The Case of Antalya
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Tourism has begun to develop with the development of the socio-economic structures of the countries after the Second World War and has become one of the fastest growing and expanding sectors in the world economy since this period.
When tourism is rapidly growing, developing countries that have limited resources such as Turkey have to make rational investment decisions for the economic future of the country. Turkey’s tourism policies that focus on coastal tourism began to be applied through development plans in the 1960s. In the five-year development plans that started in 1963, tourism was selected as the priority sector in the economic development of Turkey and the main principle of tourism sector was defined as mass tourism until the 1980s.
In this period when tourism investments were increasing, for the preservation of the natural and cultural heritage, it was aimed to give priority to the regions which were seen as most convenient for tourism investments.
In the 1960s, Antalya was one of the selected priority regions according to the directions of the development plans to concentrate on the regions with high ability to attract tourists and to get short-term results. After the 1980s, although the concept of individual tourism has been mentioned in the development plans, mass tourism investments in Antalya have increased rapidly with the Tourism Incentive Law No. 2634 issued in 1982. From the 1980s, accommodation facilities in various categories have filled the city, thus the negative impacts of tourism on the natural, cultural heritage and social structure have begun to become evident.
The tourism sector contributes greatly to the economic, cultural and social development of both developed and developing countries. However, the rapid and unplanned development of the tourism sector and focusing just on the economic impact of tourism for a long time has caused negative natural and socio-cultural influences.
In Antalya, overpopulation caused by the rapid development of tourism has caused deteriorations on the cultural and natural environment. Particularly, Kaleiçi which is the historic center of Antalya has been through cultural and social transformations and lost its original character.The aim of this study which is based on the ongoing doctoral thesis is to discuss the role of tourism developments shaped by national policies and legal regulations with reference to the transformation process of cultural values in the case of Antalya Kaleiçi. In the first part of this study, national tourism policies and investments in Turkey and the interaction between them and the protection of the historic environment are explained. In the second part, the cultural, spatial and social impact of national tourism policies and investments in the case of Antalya are determined.
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