In 2018, Turkey was the world's sixth most visited country in the world and pulled in nearly $34 billion from tourism in 2019 (Vice News). Mass amounts of tourists from Germany, Russia, the UK, and more poured into the country to consume its history, food, culture, and stunning landscape. Even while continuing to be one of the only "open" countries welcoming tourists during the pandemic, Turkey has experienced significantly fewer foreign travelers and the economy is suffering.
However, being a resident of Turkey and traveling through the country during the past couple of months has resulted in a new experience: fewer crowds, more personalization, and added Turks traveling domestically. As Salih and I continue to be explorers in our home, nearby historical sites, restaurants, and hotels have been especially pleasant. It seems that the decrease in the tourism market has led to a more enjoyable experience for locals to engage with the culture of their own country. This pandemic will most certainly change the way people travel; fewer charter buses packed with 50+ people and more intimate groups engaging with locals.
While this shift in the travel industry will result in higher unemployment, the change towards sustainable tourism is in process and new ways of regenerative travel are being developed. Sustainable tourism is defined as, "tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities" (Sustainable Tourism). A healthy travel economy is not intended to be mass-produced and cranked out a conveyor belt for thousands to consume at ease. This is a wonderful excuse to shift how we engage with new places, people, language, and food. Depending on who you ask about the future of tourism, the tone of concern or opportunity can be felt in the reply as there are very different realities across the tourism industry in Turkey. That being said, as we all itch with anticipation for borders to open, this is an opportune moment to consider how you engage with new cultures while traveling abroad.
Things I am Loving and Reading:
"If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. ...whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb." - Mary Oliver
To hear about an example of sustainable and regenerative tourism in Italy, listen here.
Have you ever heard of Yaupon? It's not tea, it's not coffee - it's a "naturally caffeinated, antioxidant-rich superfood…and to top it all off, it contains no tannin - so there is no bitter aftertaste" that is often true of traditional tea. "For thousands of years, indigenous people in the Southeast USA drank an infusion of Yaupon leaves and water to purify the body and mind, and to bestow energy and clarity on the drinker. Later on, Yaupon energized European colonizers and early Americans before fading into obscurity for over 200 years." To learn more, listen here (Yaupon plant pictured below).
Notice some recent changes around here?
We are in the process of rebranding the blog! For quite some time, I have known that Hasat Günü is a mouthful, especially for those not used to speaking Turkish. We shortened the name to 'Hasat,' meaning 'harvest' in Turkish. Our new website URL is www.hasatco.com and our Instagram handle is @hasatco. If you are already following or subscribed to the blog, you do not need to update or change anything about how you engage with this space. This is simply an update that changes are happening, new designs are coming and the creative energy is flowing! Stay tuned!
Photographs by @Djuslife