Developing pilot projects for sustainable community development

Project title

Capacity Development for Sustainable Community Based Tourism (SCBT)


UNESCO WHS of Cumalıkızık (Bursa), and Kemaliye (Euphrates Basin), Turkey


2015 – 2016

Project aim

Developing national and local capacities for planning and implementation of sustainable community based tourism in Turkey. Working as part of an interdisciplinary team evaluating the gaps in financial, legal and institutional provision for mainstreaming SCBT approaches in Turkish tourism development, our specific role is to develop project and action plans for two selected pilot destinations – the World Heritage Site village of Cumalikizik in western Turkey, and the town of Kemaliye in the Euphrates Basin – and to make recommendations for scaling up the SCBT approach in the wider region. The project applies a participative methodology to identifying and building social capacity in the community, and strengthening local tourism value chains.

Who we worked with

UNDP Turkey, and the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism

What we did

Through a combination of desk research and extended site visits, we evaluated the potential and support for developing an SCBT model in each of the pilot destinations, and the specific issues to be addressed. This included rapid appraisal of the social capital in each of the locations, the state of the existing tourism development and infrastructure, the mechanisms required to establish and support community governance, and the scope for building networks to link up with markets.


In Cumalıkızık we designed action plans and project proposals to capture more value for local residents from the existing mass cultural tourism, and to deliver a better experience of place for domestic and international cultural tourists to the WHS, thus addressing the threats to long term sustainability posed by the current model of tourism. The plans responded to the twin problems of encroaching urbanisation and pressures on the traditional infrastructure of local horticultural production – part of the criteria for WHS listing – by incorporating the nearby squatter settlement alongside the village of Cumalıkızık in proposals for building community cooperation and support for conservation of local intangible cultural heritage and developing a heritage brand for village garden products. Work in Kemaliye is still on-going (Spring 2016).