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International journal of ecosystems and ecology science (IJEES) [Int. j. ecosyst. ecol. sci.]
Int. j. ecosyst. ecol. sci., Volume 2017; 7(1): 169–178
Nihan Yenilmez Arpa1
1Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs, General Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks (MFWA-GDNCNP), Ankara, Turkey;
PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT OF ECOTOURISM IN THE PROTECTED AREAS: CASE ON ILGAZ MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK IN TURKEY
One of the most pressing concerns arising from growth of ecotourism in the protected areas is how to plan the ecotourism to support effective conservation of the values in the sensitive areas and optimize equitable benefits to local people and reduce adverse impacts of tourism. Beside the concerns, there is a high level of expectation among protected area managers about ecotourism and its opportunities, but there is also a great deal of concern about the challenges it creates. It is clear that ecotourism will not succeed without planning and management. Although, planning for ecotourism is a very important progress for conservation and development in the protected areas, there is a very limited number of ecotourism planning studies for protected areas in Turkey. One of these studies is the ‘Sustainable Tourism Planning for Ilgaz Mountain National Park’. The plan has four phases and issues to be addressed in implementing each of these phases are discussed in detail by planners, site managers and other key stakeholders. The process described is intended as a reference for implementation of ecotourism products and services, governance for ecotourism, sustainability of the activities, and training and awareness for visitors, site managers and implementers. The plan initiates many opportunities for managers and decision makers. It also corroborates importance and necessity of the planning for sustainable ecotourism implementation and stakeholder engagement in order to increase effectiveness. Despite the fact that the plan is a concrete result, the process indicates that ecotourism is initiated only when it is the most effective strategy to achieve tangible, lasting results and strong cooperation and collaboration between local people and tourism business. The conservation management, local participation and business development must be fully understood by ecotourism planners and protected area managers before moving ahead with plans to implement ecotourism activities. This paper sets out to identify a number of elements of good practice in incorporating the fundamental issues of management and development of the ecotourism in Ilgaz Mountain National Park. The process intends to be a reference for the other protected area ecotourism planning studies.
Ilgaz Mountain National Park.