Last modified: Wednesday, October 8, 2008
IU tourism experts to help recreation, preservation efforts in Turkey
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 8, 2008
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Sustainable tourism experts from Indiana University's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation are helping university faculty in Turkey create a department of recreation and develop management plans to fully use -- yet protect -- a national park near the touristy Mediterranean coast.
Cem Basman and Charles Chancellor, assistant professors in the School of HPER's Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Studies, say the research opportunity involving the park is exciting, in part because it involves developing and promoting the concept of recreation, a word for which the Turkish language currently has no equivalent. National parks in this Near Eastern country primarily are used for picnicking despite lush mountainous landscapes, ancient ruins and other natural features ideal for a range of activities such as mountain biking, white water rafting and rock climbing.
"It's a wonderful laboratory," Basman said. "The United States has a time-tested, highly respected template for creating and managing national parks. The issues we will address collaboratively with our Turkish colleagues include how to apply our theoretical models in a culture where this kind of use of natural resources doesn't exist. We can study the process from the beginning and watch how the new concept develops. Our new template, if successful, could be used throughout Turkey and in other countries."
Chancellor and Basman, who is Turkish, traveled to Turkey recently with a small delegation from the School of HPER, including Dean Robert M. Goodman, Associate Dean for Research David Koceja and Mohammad Torabi, chair of the Department of Applied health Science. While there, they met with faculty and administrators at the University of Marmara in Istanbul and Akdeniz University in Antalya.
At Akdeniz University, which has an official cooperative agreement with the School of HPER, HPER expertise was tapped to help develop the month-old Department of Recreation in the university's School of Physical Education and Sports. The visit also marked the second in a year by Basman and Chancellor, who have been in talks with Akdeniz University professor Alparslan Erman about the critical need to protect a nearby national park from the crush of tourism-driven development expanding from the coastal areas, which are lined with hotels and other high-density developments. Erman was a visiting scholar at the School of HPER last year.
"The area surrounding Antalya attracts eight million tourism visits a year, representing one-third of all tourist visits to the country," Chancellor said. "Our colleagues are interested in trying to protect Güver Canyon from development pressure by creating recreational opportunities that would attract local residents and tourists. This could support the need for preservation."
Turkey has ministries of Forestry and Environment but little management of recreational resources and activities in its national parks beyond merely establishing the borders. This project will inventory the environmental and recreational resources in Güver Canyon with the intention of creating a management plan that could be used throughout the country.
Basman has been involved with similar projects in Central America and has both academic and professional experience in natural resource management. Chancellor's professional and scholarly expertise involves adventure tourism and the impact tourism has on the local community.
They say the opportunity to work in Turkey also is appealing because of its influential geographical location, bridging the East and the West and being known as the "Cradle of Civilization." In addition to scenic landscapes, it has a rich cultural heritage.
"You could be hiking through the woods and find yourself facing a Greek column," Chancellor said. "Everywhere you go, there's the potential to find ruins 2,000 to 3,000 years old or older."