International Tourism Congress ITC2022: Call for Abstracts

ITC2022 call for abstracts is open till 15th September 2022.

The only accepted way to submit the abstract is to use the online system dedicated for that purpose: Do not send us abstracts by email!

Each abstract should be prepared in English according to the requirements described on the website of the online submission system:

All submissions will be reviewed by the members of the Scientific Board.

The main theme of ITC2022 is: “Tourism – Going Back/Forward to Sustainability”. We will discuss geographical, social, environmental, economic, political, and managerial contexts of sustainable tourism. Feel invited to participate in the discussion, feel invited to ITC2022!

When submitting an abstract of your presentation, consider one of the already accepted sessions. Our intention is to make our discussion structured and understandable to a wider audience.

The general discussion on the sustainability of tourism is expected during ITC2022. We must address the challenges of tourism resulting from contemporary environmental issues, mainly climate change and the loss of geo- and biodiversity. We expect presentations referring to both, current and future climate conditions. On the other hand, focusing on local communities is also a must. We expect a discussion on the participation of the local communities in the tourism and hospitality industry not only to aim for the local economy, but to contribute to a society holistically. From this perspective, development of tourism in rural areas is crucial. We suggest exploring and comparing how tourism in rural areas might contribute to an impact on the sustainable development of rural spaces, including remote, sparsely populated, and less-favoured areas.

Due to the location hosting the ITC2022, our particular interests are in the Baltic Sea Region. We invite discussion on recent challenges of sustainable tourism in the Baltic Sea Region, aiming for an evolutionary approach with particular focus on environmental, economic, social, and political issues of tourism development.

Recovery of tourism from any crisis, including the COVID-19 pandemic, must address sustainability. We propose the discussion on scenarios of economic and financial recovery of tourism businesses. This is to face the recent loss of liquidity of tourism enterprises and to target sustainability as a response to future crises. From that perspective, a substantial need to stimulate and design new policies reshaping the air transportation industry is expected. We propose the discussion on changes made to aviation policy and impacts on the evolution of tourism, either adversely or beneficially.

We would like to focus on the development and research of promising types of tourism in terms of sustainable development. Feel invited to present your scientific achievements related to literary tourism and film-induced tourism products and experiences that promote sustainable development of destinations. Moreover, we would like to discuss how the practice of sport activities in nature can constitute a means of fulfilling the desire to travel and recreation associated with memorable and authentic experiences, but also the need to protect nature. We believe that sustainable tourism must be adapted to the needs of all people with disabilities or not. Thus, we propose the discussion on accessible tourism.

We understand that niche tourism has the potential to contribute to sustainable development. We see that tourism resources produce niche tourism products developed in a sustainable approach to benefit local communities. From ecotourism, to nature-based tourism, to community-based tourism to olive oil tourism, to vine-tourism to astro-tourism there are many examples on how niche markets can put sustainability in practice. We also see room for the discussion on a new approach to cultural tourism that promotes the development of disadvantaged areas. We would like to exchange experience on the role of cultural tourism in creating place-based identities and how these link to broader processes of regional, national, and multinational cultures.

Young generations are considered an important stakeholder in sustainable development. Discussion on youth tourism is mandatory, as youth has the power to change the world. But it is important to involve young people in discussions and actions related to the future of tourism. We invite contributions and different perspectives that focus on the trends and challenges of human and social capital needed for sustainable development of the tourism sector. We also expect a broad discussion on tourism education at all levels. All types of jobs in the tourism industry require qualifications and training that can equip current and future employees with adaptable, agile, and resilient skills requested in a world of uncertainty.

Finally, ITC2022 targets the idea of excellence in tourism research. Thus, we propose discussion on ontological, epistemological, and methodological foundations of tourism research. The discussion of methods should consider the rapid development of information and communication technologies, mobile technologies, and geographic information systems. We see that both internetization and technological development result in unprecedented possibilities for conducting more precise and comprehensive research on tourist phenomena.

Resilience planning of regions: Case of Alto Duoro Wine Region

Resilience planning of regions is a main theme of research conducted by scientists from DIST – Politecnico di Torino. See the latest results published in the prestigious journal Science of the Total Environment by Vanessa Assumma and Marta Bottero contributing also to our SPOT project.

In the ongoing context of climate change, wine regions, particularly those designated as UNESCO cultural landscapes, are showing their attractiveness and vulnerabilities. Their value is exposed to losses, including the aesthetic, cultural, economic, and environmental dimensions, thus an effective response is more than ever needed. Wine regions continuously evolve, respond, and adapt themselves according to both endogenous or exogenous perturbations, and therefore need of building sustainable, resilient, and circular scenarios.

Decision makers are increasing their attention on the role of multidimensional models to support effectively both planning and assessment processes.

Particularly, the development of integrated evaluation framework can address this achievement. On the one hand, Stakeholders Analysis can help the identification and prioritisation of the key players of the participatory process, Multicriteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) can define sets of indicators and calculate composite indices for assessing the current performance of wine region, whereas mathematical modelling can support the prediction of future transformation scenarios. On the other hand, scenario building tools can effectively help local actors and stakeholders to define shared policy recommendations of preservation, enhancement and management of wine regions, according to resiliency, sustainability and circularity, as well as UNESCO principles.

The research work is developed in a real case study, that is the Douro territory (Portugal), where the UNESCO cultural landscape “Alto Douro Wine Region” is located.

For more details about this research work, do not hesitate to read the following publications:

The Green Track Stop event “A Walk in the Woods…”

Detailed information about the Green Track Stop event “A Walk in the Woods – citizen science for forests” can be found on the event webpage and on the Twitter account.

The Green Track Stop event “A Walk in the Woods – citizen science for forests”, organized on behalf of the vegetation group at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) as part of the EU GreenTrack campaign, has already started. We would like to invite all young European citizens to take part in this activity!

Contribute to the Green Track Stop initative! Go for a walk in the forest near your home, your school or your university any time between May 16 and May 22 and answer the questions provided in our short online survey. In this survey, we want to know what you think about the value of forests and what you expect from future forest management. The results from the survey will be evaluated and forwarded to the European Commission in form of a short report.

The Green Track Stop is also a citizen science campaign to build a database of geotagged forest photos for all of Europe! So don’t forget to take one (or several!) photo(s) with geotag enabled in your smartphone’s camera settings, while you are in the forest. You are invited to fill out the survey during or after your forest walk. It is available in 6 different languages:

Baleal Beach case study – Locals talking

In a session called “Locals talking” held on May 10th, at School of Tourism and Maritime Technology of Polytechnic of Leiria (ESTM), some of the local stakeholders representing the community were present, namely Paulo Morais Ferreira (President of the Peniche Surfing Club and the national delegate of the Surfriders Foundation), Maria Simões (Manager of Lagido Supermarket and local accommodation YEY Baleal), Cristina Pereira (Manager of Hostel Baleal à Vista), Pedro Barata (President of Ferrel Parish) and Ricardo Leopoldo (Manager of Peniche Surf Camp). The discussion was moderated by João Paulo Jorge and Fernanda Oliveira from ESTM. We thank the presence of these stakeholders whose ideas and concerns about Baleal Beach, and its future planning and development greatly enriched the discussion.

Issues of tourism planning and tourism development in Baleal Beach

The process of reviewing and proposing a new Municipal Master Plan was launched in 2012. However, the whole process, for numerous reasons, has suffered many delays and only in 2018 was published, by the municipal council of Peniche, the preliminary report with the first proposal of the new Master Plan. One of the most important issues is related to the key tourist resources, namely the beaches and their sustainable planning and management, particularly the territorial unit of the parish of Ferrel, which includes Baleal beach.

According to the preliminary report Baleal beach requires a significant intervention, given the growing tourist demand and the degradation of its urban seafront at an exceptionally beautiful point (the area of the two bays created by the tombolo which connects it to the island). It is planned to minimize the car traffic, relocate the parking area, renaturalise it, the requalify the sandy beach and create a qualified pedestrian seafront.

It is important to note that, as mentioned by local stakeholders, in Baleal beach significant changes have started just 12 years ago, when the world surfing championships took place in Peniche. Surf tourism allowed to extended high season from 2 months up to more or less 8 months. This is what local actors really appreciate. They said, “surf tourism is a future of Peniche”.

Local actors also underlined other aspects such as quality of the tourist and complementary services facilities. Good tourist experience and spatial and regulatory organization are requested and supported by locals when creating products for tourists. Tourists when visiting Peniche expect to see the virgin nature. Thus, locals do not believe in the idea of mass tourism and related infrastructural development. Every infrastructural investment must strictly follow environmental requirements and fit to the local unique landscape. However, our locals said they are not unconditionally against the new hotel investments.

One issue that was strongly emphasised was the following: “It is difficult to make everyone talking to everybody”. This is so difficult to agree with inhabitants about ideas proposed by local leaders or municipality. On the other hand, it is difficult to attract municipality with ideas of local actors. They also mentioned that in a successful planning process the first step to be taken is to listen to the local community first and then move to a first proposal and not contrary as was done. Especially when authorities are thinking about planning the space like creating the piece of art first rather than process of discussion with locals.

Our students were interested in such issues and actively participated in the discussion and raised some pertinent questions like, e.g.: dark accommodation, participative spatial planning, tourism related crimes, sustainability of tourism development, political issues.

Closing remarks of “Locals talking” session

The revision process of the new Municipal Master Plan is currently underway and will soon enter the public discussion phase. This discussion is of great democratic importance as it allows citizens and stakeholders to actively participate in the management of the municipality through proposals and public debates.

Local communities play an important role in tourism development. They are regarded as legitimate and moral stakeholders in tourism development. Local community has to be involved in policy and decision making so that it will enhance the trust and confidence of the local people on the government bodies and tourism industry.

MapoFaktura 2022 – Geographical data analysis for tourism and crisis management

Crisis mapping

Recent cartography and spatial data analysis are completely different to the periods before mobile technologies dominance. Web-mapping 2.0 is up-to-date, advanced in technology on the one hand, and inclusive and participatory on the other hand. Everyone can be a professional cartographer. Two contexts of web-mapping 2.0 are important from the perspective of crisis management: map mashups and crisis mapping. Map mashups allow to collect, assess, geocode, integrate, and disseminate spatial data related to crisis events through one application, e.g.: Crisis mapping is about editing maps to evidences the impacts of crisis events, and also about crisis management. The last mentioned context was the particular focus of MapoFaktura 2022.

From the perspective of tourism, crisis events have mainly negative consequences. Any serious crisis like COVID-19 pandemic (already investigated by the team of SPOT project) or Russian invasion of Ukraine results in tremendous decrease of travels and hits negatively performances of the tourism industry. However, many actions involving tourism industry might solve some negative consequences of crises, and in consequence reduce the negative impacts of crises on tourism enterprises. It is worth to be mentioned that during pandemic times hotel facilities were used to accommodate medicine doctors or people quarantined. Recently, we are witnessing large flows of refugees coming from Ukraine. Accommodation facilities are considered to host migrants temporarily until they found permanent house and job. MapoFaktura 2022 aimed to analyse the territorial capacity of the region of Lodz to host refugees, mainly by using tourism accommodation facilities.

The event of MapoFaktura 2022

On April 1, 2022, the achievements of MapoFaktura 2022 workshops have been presented as a part of GeoNight initiative. The event was organized by the students of tourism and recreation programme at the University of Lodz, Faculty of Geographical Sciences. Project ‘SPOT. Sustainable Spatial Planning of Tourism Destinations’ was the proud partner of the event. The idea of MapoFaktura was created by the students of the course on social media in tourism offered by assist. prof. Tomasz Napierała. This was the third edition of this spectacular event. This year, participants got to know how to edit, process, and use spatial data for crisis management. MapoFaktura2022, including both workshops and online presentation, attracted 41 persons including 28 women, and 13 men. For more information visit the fan page of MapoFaktura on Facebook.

MapoFaktura2022 has created the new opportunities to train future professionals of tourism industry. The problem of crisis management has been considered as a respond to recent geopolitical and socio-economic situation. Brand new and already cooperating partners were involved in MapoFaktura project. The event was organized by the students of tourism and recreation programme at the University of Lodz, Faculty of Geographical Sciences. Partners were: Project ‘SPOT. Sustainable Spatial Planning of Tourism Destinations’, SoftwareMill, Association OpenStreetMap Poland, Commission of Tourism Geography of Polish Geographical Society, and Lodz Tourism Organisation. Merit issues were consulted with prof. Przemysław Śleszyński from Institute of Geography and Spatial Organisation of Polish Academy of Sciences.


Workshops organized on March 26, 2022 were the main part of MapoFaktura 2022. Workshops included for main thematic panels: contributing to the OpenStreetMap project, accessing to OpenStreetMap database, analysis of spatial data and applying spatial data for crisis management. During the workshops students learned how to cocreate OpenStreetMap. They got to know how effectively use both spatial data sources (OpenStreetMap), and programming tools (Python, Overpass Turbo, and Google Colab). Students edited maps in QGIS application and discussed content of that maps. Students were informed how to support strategic decisions by geographical analysis already prepared.

During the workshops the focus of participants was on most important aspects of crisis management. Responding to rapid increase of migration flows of Ukrainians evidenced since the beginning of Russian invasion over Ukraine, MapoFaktura 2022 aimed the estimation of territorial capacity to host migrants in the region of Lodz. The research area was analysed according to possibility of accommodating migrants in tourism facilities as well as entities of social care. The territorial capacity to host migrants in the region of Lodz was investigated from the perspective of needs of local populations and communication accessibility of discussed infrastructure. The following indicators were estimated: average number of citizens to one tourism accommodation facility or to one entity of social care. Distances from abovementioned tourism entities to transportation hubs were estimated. The numbers of pharmacy stores, facilities of healthcare and social care located in the walking distance from analysed entities ready to host migrants were counted. Based on abovementioned analysis, students found that areas most convenient for hosting migrants are: the most populated cities of a region – Lodz and Piotrków Trybunalski, counties’ capitals of the area along Pilica river – Opoczno and Tomaszów Mazowiecki, area of the communes associated in the initiative called ‘Centralny Łuk Turystyczny’, and Łowicz and neighbouring communes.

Photo story of MapoFaktura workshops

Norwegian mountain destination and second-home planning; sustainable or out of control?

Many places in the Norwegian mountain second-home developments has taken over much of the upper forest band, as here close to Skei ski resort.
Old times summer farming at Skei.
New times alpine skiing at Skei.
The old summer-farm area is being completely transformed.
The Skei mountain destination used to have two hotels and a large lodge. Today only one hotel remains, only open during the winter season.
It all started as summer tourism. The first hotel, “Gausdal Sanatorium” was erected in the middle of the summer-farm area and opened in 1876.
The Skei destination has about 2500 second homes and there are planes for more than a doubling of that number.

Ever growing second-home agglomerations engulf nearly every Norwegian ski resort, or mountain destination, with numerous metastases of new second-home fields spreading into pristine nature. The economic gravitational point of the ski resort has shifted from hotels and lodges to second-home tourism. The sales of plots and building of second homes has become the most important income source of outside capital in many local communities. At the same time, more critical voices are heard, both in the media and in the literature, questioning the sustainability, claiming that the planning is out of control. A main focus of the SPOT project in Norway will be to study legislation and planning practices as well as the discourses of governments and society.

Norway is the country in the world with the highest number of second homes per capita, more than 90 per 1000 inhabitants, only rivalled by Finland, which has similar numbers. Large second-home agglomerations continue to spread throughout the upper forest band, especially along south-west facing slopes, radiation out from the main ski resorts. The largest villages have many thousands second homes, up to 8000 in one destination alone. Consequently, the dominating mode of accommodation at the ski resorts and mountain destinations has moved from hotels and lodges to private second homes, with more than 150.000 second homes in the mountain region of southern Norway alone. The second-home dwellers have become the main market for the building of new ski lifts, activity providers, restaurants, bars and stores for shopping, which all need more space.

This development is further stimulated by a recent neoliberal trend in the physical planning tradition, where more of the planning is done by private developers and less by the governments and their administrations. The resulting piece-by-piece planning has not only caused increasingly negative consequences for nature and the environment and loss of nature and loss of access to and quality of nature for the tourist, but also unforeseen needs for infrastructure, with both economic and environmental consequences.

At one destination in Norway, Skei destination (which serves a one of the cases for the SPOT project), after a soaring number of new second-homes the local municipality is now faced with an acute water shortage, where there is not enough water for the snow cannons on the alpine slopes. The Gausdal municipality has only two fishing lakes in these mountains, and to large protests from landowners, farmers and other locals, they have suggested the expropriation of one of the two lakes and turn it into a water reservoir. This will end recreational fishing and transform a large part of the mountain area most used by tourist and locals.

As most of the mountain destinations, the Skei ski resort started off as a summer farm area. The farming resources were restricted in the valleys, and the grass had to be used for haymaking. Therefore, the people in the valley took their livestock up to their summer farms so that they could pasture there. Still today, cattle and sheep are grazing here, but now often between the thousands of second homes sprawling out over the summer-farm areas. The farmers have retained their right to pasture, but the second-home population is gradually becoming more hostile to this practice. Consequently, the mountains as a food-producing resource is under pressure.

If interested in the topic, do not hesitate to approach our Norwegian team directly.

Meet Hnat, our Ukrainian colleague

Meet Hnat Sumyshyn, Ukrainian student of the Faculty of Geographical Sciences at University of Lodz in Poland. Now, he is a master student of spatial planning and organisation programme and a member of the students’ community of the project ‘SPOT. Sustainable Spatial Planning of Tourism Destinations’. He also participated in our study visit to Turkey. In this terrible and uncertain time of military invasion of Russia against Ukraine we would like to share the story of Hnat and his opinion on the situation in his homeland.

Hnat grew up in Kyiv. After completing bachelor studies at the National University of Taras Shevchenko he moved to Poland. He wanted to make his dream of living a new life, in a new country, on his own rules come true. Hnat underlined that the language and culture of Poland and Ukraine are so similar. That makes the adaptation easy. And Lodz. From the perspective of a Ukrainian student, mundane things like costs of living really matter. Hnat also mentioned the attractiveness of the educational offer and social support of University of Lodz. From the perspective of an international student interested in geography and Geographical Information Systems in particular, the Faculty of Geographical Sciences at University of Lodz was the best choice.

All friends of Hnat know that he is an avid runner. We asked him about his hobby, and then realised that it is much more than a hobby. Hnat said: “I have been running for 3 years. From my perspective this is much more than just physical activity. It’s about lifestyle. (…) In these difficult times, running helps me relieve stress and explore myself for a while. And in general, I think a day without any sport activity is a day wasted.

We asked Hnat about the current situation in Ukraine. Hnat found out what happened from his friend. After that, innumerable messages began to flow in. Hnat said: “I understood everything but didn’t believe it.” At the moment, Hnat is in constant contact with his parents in Kiev. For now, their situation is very difficult. Due to the risk of air raids they often spend the nights in the basement. Hnat feels safe in Poland, but his thoughts are always with his parents.

Hnat believes that declaring war on the Ukrainian people, which values their own freedom above all else, is a great mistake of Putin. He tells the Russians directly: “This is our land and no one wants you here! We will fight to the end! (…) Dear Russian mothers, grandmothers, wives, sisters, do you understand that your sons, husbands, grandchildren and brothers are going to certain and senseless death?” Hnat does not hide his gratitude to the Western countries for the decisive answer. And to the Poles he says directly: “You guys are great! I have seen how many of you are involved in fundraising and helping.

We asked Hnat about any requests or suggestions to the community of the SPOT project regarding the recent situation in Ukraine. And the only thing was the truth. To tell the truth about Ukraine, the country which defends not only itself but the whole Europe, and European values. And those values are also the core values of our project.

Kızkalesi case study – Metropolitan perspective

The meeting with representatives of metropolitan institutions and organizations was held at the Faculty of Architecture, Mersin University on December 8, 2021. The discussion was moderated by Yasemin Sarıkaya Levent and Tolga Levent. In the meeting the following persons were present: Barbaros Bektaş (Mersin Metropolitan Municipality – Chief planner responsible from Erdemli District), Barış Başeren (Mersin Directorate of Water Affairs – Engineer responsible from infrastructural issues), Ahmet Yıldız (Denizkızı Incorporated Company – Vice manager responsible from tourism), Feriha Baş (Mersin Museum, Vice president and archaeologist responsible from scientific excavations in Korykos archaeological site), Fikret Ünlüer (Freelance Planner – Author of the Kızkalesi spatial plans), Nupelda Bedirhanoğlu (Mezitli Municipality), and Gizem Akdeniz (Freelance Planner).

It was nice to hear that local stakeholders of tourism development and spatial planning are glad to host participants of SPOT project study visit in Mersin. It is important that spatial planners of the region are eager to apply achievements of both project and study visit: policy recommendations in particular. Sustainability and accessibility are recognized as the keywords of spatial planning in Kızkalesi. Thus, our contribution is expected.

One of important planning issues is that tourism functions are developing in the residential areas, out of areas planned to be used by tourism related activities. Moreover, buildings located in coastal areas assigned now to tourism development do not match tourist facility requirements determined by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. This also increases spatial planning issues. We were explained that star ranked hotels requests plots large enough to meet all legal requirements. Yet, plots in Kızkalesi are small in size to meet the requirements. Moreover, the new amendment to legislation resulted in changes of responsibility in labeling hotels with stars, from local authorities towards centralized system. In consequence, lot of hotels lost their stars. Now, that facilities operates as apart hotels or pensions rather than hotels.

Next issue results from conservation areas plenty of which are located in case study area. We were explained about 3 levels of conservation degree of archeological sites. The 1st degree conservation area means that any construction or agriculture activities are prohibited. On the other hand, the 3rd degree conservations areas are allowed for urban development with low density and only after the careful examination by experts from local museum. Kızkalesi has limited development area as being surrounded by archaeological conservation areas.

Water supply system in tourism destinations is usually extremely fragile and depends on the efficiency of pipes transporting water into populated areas. It was emphasized that water supply system in northern part of Kızkalesi is not sufficient, in summer season in particular. However, the quality of the system should be increased, pipelines and storage tanks should be renewed. Second thing is that households and other entities have to be connected to the civic water supply system. It is also the issue in northern part of case study area. Similar problems are noticed for sewage system. Fortunately, not significant problems of rainwater system are evidenced.

Kızkalesi is very special location. Thus, special approach for spatial planning should be applied. The problems started when central government decentralized spatial planning system and assign spatial planning tasks to municipalities whose employees at that time had no requested skills and competencies. In small communities like Kızkalesi the main problem is that most of people, including all stakeholders of spatial planning like property owners and authorities are relatives, have family connections. This makes every decision to decrease property rights difficult or even impossible. Resulting this development rights have been increased by increasing height of buildings without regarding sustainability of the settlement.

It was emphasized during the meeting that spatial planning of coastal areas has two dimensions in general: horizontal focused on relations and specificity of neighboring coastal destinations, and vertical emphasizing the relations between coastal zone and backward areas. One of our debater emphasized that sometimes would be better to demolish everything and start construction again following state of the art of spatial planning.

We asked during the meeting about social participation in spatial planning. Then, we were explained by local experts that public hearing meetings are only on a paper. Locals might only reject plans. However, this decision might be rejected by the municipality. Spatial planning is not a process following postulates of social participation. Representatives of municipalities and also freelance planners are afraid that such attitude might make spatial planning process never ending story.

It was clarified that the beach of Kızkalesi is being operated by Denizkızı Incorporated Company of Mersin Metropolitan Municipality. The beach is suitable for the use of disabled people and both the municipality and the company have strategies to make public spaces including beaches accessible for disabled people. There are two buffets, 14 restrooms and more than 40 cabins operated by the company. The company hires sun umbrellas and sunbeds, but they do not charge money for the entrance. Yet the beach in front of the land castle is operated by Mersin Museum which charges fee for entrances.

It was indicated that both sea castle and land castle are unique structures in terms of architectural techniques and also for tourism development. Yet both could not be used efficiently for tourism development. Sea castle is reached by small boats operated by private initiatives. There is no proper coastal structure for the operation of boats. Even though scientific excavations and restoration works have been completed and the structure is proper to host different activities, there are not social or cultural activities conducted within the sea castle. In terms of conservation of archeological sites but also flood protection in general, coastal defense structure is requested by now. However, as such system might significantly influence landscape, it should be constructed carefully and with proper awareness. On the other hand, land castle is closed for visits due to ongoing scientific excavations for the last two years. It will take a lot of time to complete archeological excavations and studies which would prevent the use of land castle for touristic purposes for short term. Mersin metropolitan municipality with limited financial and human resources is the only funding institution covering costs of that process. On the one hand, ancient heritage is a core resource for tourism development, on the other one – truly big issue.

Kızkalesi case study – Locals talking

We would like to send our greetings to all local stakeholders from Kızkalesi who agreed to meet us and share with us their stories, problems, and ideas, namely: Yusuf Çelik (Manager, Has Hotel), Mevlüt Erzurum (Manager of Okan Apart Hotel), Nur Kaya (Manager of Barbaros Hotel), İbrahim Kale (Manager of Etap Hotel), Natık Çoban (Çobanbey Real Estate), Mehmet Şirin Öztop (Owner of Rain Hotel and Rain Garden Restaurant), Murat Kale (Mukhtar of Kızkalesi Neighborhood), Ali Rıza Eren (Kızkalesi Representative of DHA News Agency), and Halit Öztop (Manager of Rain Garden Restaurant). The meeting was organized in Rain Garden Restaurant in Kızkalesi on December 7, 2021. The discussion was moderated by Yasemin Sarıkaya Levent and Tolga Levent from Mersin University, Faculty of Architecture.

Local stakeholders from Kızkalesi emphasized that they appreciate interest of SPOT project team in their problems and issues. They were really eager to know more details about the project to better understand benefits they can have when cooperating with us.

Issues of tourism development and tourism planning in Kızkalesi

The first issue locals mentioned is the seasonal demographical changes. The winter population of the settlement is about 3,000 people, whereas it increases up to 60,000 people during high season. This huge increase of population in high season results in insufficiencies in technical infrastructure. Infrastructural problems related to delivering drinking water and sewerage in high tourism season (4 months per year) are main challenges to be solved by local administrations. Despite there is a developed sewerage refinement unit in the neighborhood, the capacity of the sewerage system network creates problems. The network of drinking water system is old. The second infrastructural problem relates to transportation accessibility, as there is only one road connecting Kızkalesi with Mersin and then Adana airport. Duration of trips from Adana airport to Kızkalesi is long especially for international tourists. Moreover, from internal perspective, development of car parking areas is demanded. During high season both infrastructure effectiveness and capacity of local accommodation facilities are insufficient from the perspective of high demand.

Locals also emphasized institutional issues: no strategy, no master plan to differentiate tourism activities across the space, no organization to represent their interests as well as to manage and promote their initiatives. They did not identify conflicts between locals and local authorities. However, after the disbandment of the municipality in 2014, some issues of local management should be underlined related mainly on delays of provision of various services. Crime related problems have already been solved by placing surveillance cameras along the beach and sending to the area additional police supporting local forces during high tourism season.

Locals identified that their contribution to regional development is significant, also from promotional perspective – Kızkalesi is used as a core regional brand attracting both tourists and investors. On the other hand, they do not get much back as public investments. As thus, they fill disappointed by that way of regional policy.

Considered soultions

Locals have no power and no authority to run all activities requested to solve their problems. However, still they want to discuss and propose some ideas. They were aware that sea and sun is the main tourism activity in the area, yet they want to diversify tourism activities by introducing alternative types of tourism like sport tourism, bird watching, international festivals (stopped unfortunately by Covid-19 pandemic). To extend season all through the year they proposed to establish a vocational school in cooperation with Mersin University for the winter periods. The second idea is to build a sport complex especially for amateur sport clubs. They believe that this sport complex could also be beneficial for locals especially for young people. To increase the profitability of tourism, locals try to attract international tourism, not only domestic one. Aiming this, they are aware of the need to increase the quality of tourism service facilities in the region instead of quantitative growth.

Locals also emphasized that the main natural resource they use are beaches – home of loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta). Unfortunately, due to environmental changes due to floods, the structure of beaches has changed. It becomes rockier under the sand. Those thin layer of sand on beach makes beaches less attractive for turtles. Yet, locals mentioned that Göksu Wetland in Silifke has natural beaches used by sea turtles, as well as by different types of migratory birds. For Kızkalesi local stakeholders it is difficult to imagine the situation that tourism disappears. Thus, they do not consider alternatives for tourism. However, along with tourism, most of the locals deals with agriculture, especially citrus, olive and vegetable production. Thus, hotel owners are farmers in the same time. When looking at the history of region’s development, tourism was preceded by agriculture and husbandry.

COVID-19 impact on tourism: case of Polish hotels

COVID-19 pandemic started just three months after SPOT project kick-off meeting. Pandemic outbreak triggered a major global crisis affecting various human activities, including travel and tourism. It also influenced SPOT project as already planned mobilities of students and researchers had to be postponed or even cancelled. As thus, our first focus was on delivering analysis of evidenced and expected impact of COVID-19 pandemic on tourism. Hotels are recognized as a core element of tourism infrastructure. In consequence, hotels are of particular interest of destination management organizations and institutions responsible for spatial planning. This was a reason we decided to consider the situation of hotel industry during pandemic times. Urban hotel markets in Poland were our case.

Negative COVID-19 impact on Polish urban hotel markets were more significant in less internationalized and less populated destinations. Thus, in the short-term perspective, the recovery of hotel industry would be much easier, reflecting only an epidemic in the national context. Hotels located in destinations targeting domestic tourism mainly are less influenced by international crises. On the contrary, recovery of the investigated industry in more internationalized and more populated destinations will be much more complicated and affected by health strategies applied not only in Poland but, also, in tourist-generating countries. Thus, the geographical segmentation of hotel markets as well as increase of sustainable approach in general should become the focus of hotel managers but also destination management organizations.

To find more details of our research, do not hesitate to read our paper entitled: Impact of Geographic Distribution of COVID-19 Cases on Hotels’ Performances: Case of Polish Cities.

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