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Culture as a Tourism Resource: The Case of North Cyprus (TRNC)

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Abstract:

The aim of this article is to highlight the cultural aspects and components of a Mediterranean island where tourism is the main economic sector. Today, tourism is the gateway to the global world, where culture and heritage is a significant part of the tourism product. There are numerous studies indicating that cultural attractions are a fundamental motivation in a tourist's decision to visit a destination. This study attempts to answer the question whether or not tourism planners and policy makers are aware of cultural values as a motivating factor while, at the same time, how do they go about upholding the values of cultural uniqueness in the context of the tourism industry, as well as in the society as a whole? What sort of plans/policies are in place to support or facilitate moving towards realizing these goals? An assumption made in this article is that, if governments and tourism policy makers do not clearly define their cultural parameters and values, along with appropriate strategies to restore/sustain their authenticity, it is likely that most of the cultural uniqueness associated with a particular destination will be underutilized and eventually lost. This, in itself, will undermine the product diversity of Northern Cyprus (formally known as the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus–TRNC), which is perceived or branded as nothing more than a sun, sea, sand destination. In this article a qualitative research strategy has been employed and in-depth semistructured interview questions have been administered to the informants in numerous culturally involved institutions. The study revealed that, notwithstanding the rich cultural assets and abundance of its heritage, Northern Cyprus has not been able to develop a clear strategy towards cultural and heritage planning for the purposes of tourists' consumption, and also for the purpose of upholding certain aspects of cultural capital essential for social and economic progress. The study revealed that the approach of both policy makers and institutions have been superficial, and lack a fundamental understanding of the issues involved in achieving a sustainable harmony between culture as a tourism resource, and tourism as an economic tool.

Keywords: AUTHENTICITY AND IDENTITY; CULTURAL COMMODITIZATION; CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS; CULTURAL/HERITAGE TOURISM; TRNC (NORTH CYPRUS)

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3727/109830411X13215686205842

Publication date: 2011-07-01

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  • Tourism, Culture & Communication is international in its scope and will place no restrictions upon the range of cultural identities covered, other than the need to relate to tourism and hospitality. The Journal seeks to provide interdisciplinary perspectives in areas of interest that may branch away from traditionally recognized national and indigenous cultures, for example, cultural attitudes toward the management of tourists with disabilities, gender aspects of tourism, sport tourism, or age-specific tourism.
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