Discussion and conclusions

Together with the rapid economic, political, technological developments and changes in the world, significant changes occur also in tourism. Different forms of tourism as an alternative to mass tourism in Turkey started to develop in the 1990s. These forms of tourism are considered important tools for ensuring sustainable environments as they bear rural and cultural tourism characteristics could be developed in sensitive natural and cultural areas. In this respect, Amasra, an ancient port city located on a peninsula, has rural landscape features. Creating a significant demand for tourism with its natural, cultural and historical values, Amasra was investigated in this study in terms of sustainable tourism planning and management which prioritizes the integrity of ecology and the traditional structure and the participation of local residents. As such, the survey study conducted to determine the local residents’ participation in tourism activities, support, expectations and attitudes toward and perceptions of natural and cultural values in terms of sustainable tourism planning and management constituted an important aspect of the present study.

3.2 Tourism development

The results of the survey indicated that the participants were not aware of some of the factors that could hinder tourism activities such as problems related to summerhouses, and environmental problems caused by road construction works and by Turkish Hard Coal Authority.

The analyses demonstrated that the historic coastal town of Amasra has a strong tourism potential. The income of the local residents who are engaged in tourism activities in Amasra is based on running pensions (guesthouses) and seafood restaurants, and handicrafts. The dissemination of pensions and increasing the quality of services is important in terms of tourism development. The other source of income, handicrafts, is based on traditional methods and know-how. The unique aspects of traditional handicrafts should be protected and promoted to international markets through branding. In this respect, efforts should be put in raising the awareness of local residents about tourism and in educational activities.

The demand for Amasra is based mostly on its coastal location, the natural, cultural, historical and gastronomic (especially seafood restaurants) aspects. The continuity of the contributions of these aspects to tourism should be ensured with considering the balance between conservation and use. In addition, the production of local organic products, which are widespread in Amasra, should be promoted and awareness of local residents should be raised. In this respect, tourist tours should be organized to such areas of production.

This study investigated the positive and negative effects of tourism development in Amasra. On the one hand, tourism contributes to the promotion of the city, its economy and to the protection of cultural heritage. On the other hand, it has negative effects on the natural and traditional characteristics due to unplanned land development.

According to the survey results, there is a high tourist demand for Amasra during the summer months (June, July, August) due to the its location on the coast. It is necessary to diversify tourism activities to attract tourists to the city throughout the year and extend the duration of stay. In this respect, particularly cultural and nature tourism are among the types of tourism to be developed in Amasra.