Agrı-tourısm potential of Gazipaşa as an alternative to urban tourism
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Tourists travel for many reasons as they are attracted by many historical, natural, socio-cultural attributes of tourism destinations. Tourism is a global industry with an average growth rate of 3.9 % on the global arena (World Travel and Tourism Council, 2019). Majority of tourism activites take place in big cities which are mostly investigated under Urban Tourism research. Urban Tourism has taken attention since the past 20 years as a field of academic studies (Ashworth and Page, 2011). This progress can prevail theoretical debates as well as practical research incredementally. The high urbanization rates may be one of the reasons for the rapid increase in urban tourism research globally. As an example, in 2018, 55.3 % of the world’s population lived in cities, whereas for Turkey, this figure is reported as 75 % (World Bank, 2019). However, Tourism activities need to provide alternative and sustainable varities. Agri-tourism (or namely agro-tourism) is one of the sustainable tourism alternatives. Agricultural tourism has many environmental benefits such as the protection of rural areas and natural resources, the promotion of environmentally friendly agricultural practices and the improvement of agricultural production (Barbieri 2013; Brown and Reeder 2007; Che et al. 2005). Phillip et al. (2010) states that agricultural activities for tourists can be examined in various levels. The levels may be passive as an observer of agri-cultural activities or direct or indirect involvement in agri-cultural activities. Agri-cultural tourism involves a wide variety of activities and can be combined with other forms of tourism as a package. In addition, agricultural tourism can be considered as one of the important alternatives of sustainable tourism. Gazipaşa district of Antalya has mainly an agricultural economy. Although being in proximity to tourism destinations and governing natural, historical, cultural attractions, Gazipaşa preserved its originality in its traditions and agriculture and has not progressed in terms of tourism. Gazipaşa is only 44 km. away from Alanya which is a very popular tourism district located in Antalya province. The district was declared as a tourism zone in 1989 and Gazipaşa airport was put into operation (Aşık, 2016). This research aims to find out the agri-cultural potential of Gazipaşa . The research is designed as a qualitative methodology. Two focus group studies are made with the farmers with a total of 17 farmers. Semi-structured interviews are made with government officers as well as civil society organization authorities. The result point out an important potential to be developed with many factors to be considered. The farmers are mostly willing to be involved in agri-cultural activities, however they need information as well as better infrastructure. There may be u-pick activities, participation in village life. More festivals can be organized in addition to the current pomegranate festival. Some of the farmers are not in favor of offering home accomodation. Governmental officers mention the need for accomodation availabilities and think that agri-tourism can only be developed in presence of other hotels. The paper presents detailed information related to the agri-cultural potential of Gazipaşa. The findings may help for the future strategies to be followed.
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