The Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs have designated 527 areas in 81 provinces to represent the natural beauties of Turkey to tourism as part of the Nature Tourism Development Plan.
The Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks prepared the Nature Tourism Development Plan upon the instruction of Forestry and Water Affairs Minister Veysel Eroğlu. The plan outlines the actions that will take place in areas of outstanding beauty, and how sustainable and alternative tourism activities will be developed.
Turkey, which has a rich history and cultural heritage inherited from numerous civilizations, is home to significant biodiversity thanks also to its diverse climates. Among the 12,000 different plant species identified in Europe, Turkey is home to 9,000, and shelters 420 different species of birds. Furthermore, Turkey has many natural assets such as mountains, forests, highlands, shores, lakes and rivers, as well as rich geologic wonders such as caves and canyons.
In order to pass on Turkey's rich natural resources to future generations, the ministry designated 27 nature tourism areas in 81 provinces, and determined certain activities and routes that may be subjected to nature tourism.
New developments in the tourist industry all over the world are changing people's ideas of what a holiday is. Instead of lying under the sun and cooling off in the sea, tourists expect to discover natural wonders during their vacation. The ministry is committed to promoting eco-tourism and nature tourism, two of the primary sources of Turkey's tourism income, via the initiation of this new project. The project intends to contribute to the country's economy by integrating local people into tourist activities while protecting natural wonders for eco-tourism.
Nature tourism has grown in popularity in Turkey in recent years. Nature tourism activities in Turkey usually accompany improvements to national parks along with protected wildlife reserves and natural monuments. Moreover, natural sites that are protected by international agreements, such as the Ramsar Convention, and protected natural sites and protected environments, are among the most important places for eco-tourism.