As a person who has received education about tourism many years and earns money from tourism, and in addition to these, as a person living in this country, I sincerely want growth of tourism. It’s normal for me to want that because I’m not “Irish”. I have always cared about the total benefit in the businesses they work for, so that whatever is experienced is continuous, sustainable, not daily! One-day solutions are temporary consolations that save the day and don’t care about tomorrow. I will share my feedback on the concepts of destination and image and my humble solution suggestions through some examples I have experienced. I will also list the links of two my articles that I wrote many years ago on destination and image. I will also list the links of two my articles that I wrote many years ago on destination and image. Please kindly consider that; I’m not going to make a long comment on brand positioning or image, they are not in the my expertise anyway!
Destination; By definition, it can be defined as a geographical place or region where the tourist community resides within the local community.
A destination; It has a complex structure consisting of tourism attractions, tourism businesses, local people and local government. Therefore, a destination; This represents a relatively difficult tourism product to manage due to its complex structure.
Image; As it is known, it is one of the most attractive factors and perhaps the most important factor that is considered in the basis of all decision-making processes. Undoubtedly, a strong image is one of the most indispensable requirements that will make an established brand strong.
So, in return for all this effort, is everyone living in this country doing their part as individuals in the society? Destinations do not appear in one day, or destinations suddenly become unattractive just because someone desires them! While there are many beautiful cities and countries in the world, no one chooses a destination simply because it “exists”! You should have distinctive features and you should put those features in people’s eyes and tell the whole world!
Certain destinations under the roof of an established brand come to the fore with their strong images and good marketing of attractiveness elements, and depending on the consistency of their strategies, they are among the destinations that have a say in the world.
As any smart person will agree, the values that make a destination a destination cannot depend only on the destination itself; All the components that make up the destination are a part of the total value of the destination and all stakeholders should act with this awareness.
1-The tourist absorbs the experiences he/she has during his/her stay at the destination,
2-All the experiences that the tourist will have affect the decision-making habits of the tourist. If the tourist sees that their rights are not protected against people who make fools of themselves, they can easily take a stand, cut the bill and not go to the destination they have problems with,
3- If the tourist is happy, he makes advertisements in favor of the destination by giving advice to his immediate surroundings and writing positive comments on the comment portals, and becomes a kind of brand ambassador of the destination,
4- If the tourist is unhappy and there is no solution to his unhappiness, he writes comments just so that others do not experience the dissatisfaction he experiences and tries to damage the image of the destination.
The right question is: are we, as citizens of the country, conscious of these substances?
Starting from the hosts or stewardesses on the planes, passport officers, taxi drivers, bus drivers, security guards at the hotel gates, doormen, receptionists, animators, chefs, managers, chefs working in restaurants, floor attendants, ferry attendants, officers at metro stations, cafe-restaurant operators. , all small and large mini businesses, agency transfers, guides, all passengers in transportation vehicles, people on the streets, the language used on the signs, direction signs… all of these are factors that affect the image. And whether we believe it or not, all individuals, objects and details in the destination affect the destination image.
I will share some examples from Antalya, where the number of tourists arriving by air alone exceeded 12 million in the January-October 2022 period;
1- Our shopkeepers throw a chair in front of a shop in the heart of the city, near the historical Kaleiçi, and cut their nails!
Regardless of local or foreign, if I am a tourist coming to this city, how can I enter this shop? The man has no respect for his job, there is no hygiene anyway, so this man does not care about tourism in the country!
2-I did not understand the chairs thrown in front of the shops all my life. What other explanation do these chairs have other than harassing those who come and go with their eyes? The sidewalks are already narrow, people can hardly walk to avoid bumping into each other, and these chairs narrow the space. No matter how you look at it, there is no logical explanation!
3-You take a taxi, I want a receipt from the taxi driver; It messes with everything inside the vehicle. The receipt cob comes out of one place, the stamp comes out of another. The pen is no longer there. I don’t remember how many times I gave pens to my taxi drivers. Why are they so messy? It’s that simple to master only “1 vehicle and the minimum equipment in it”! Taxi drivers’ costumes should be neat, their hair and beard care should be careful and the language they use should be as polite as possible!
4-I complained about some of the bus drivers to the relevant people on social media a few times. Unfortunately, lives are given to people who should not go out in public. What can a tourist ask a person who cannot understand what he is saying in Turkish, speaking on the phone with a rosary in his hand, an earphone in his ear and an endless conversation? What does it do to the tourist who scolds us as Turks?
5-I think they hire the employees at the tram stops as social media experts because they look at their mobile phones whenever I look at them, but their main job is to control the tram operation and security! I gave feedback to the relevant people on social media, they responded by defending, I wrote again, I hope they understood what I said.
6- I have repeatedly conveyed the neglect of toilets and shower cabins on the world-famous Konyaaltı beach, which is shown as one of the most popular beaches in the world on Tripadvisor, to the relevant people on social media, but I did not receive a response. And unfortunately, the neglect continued until the end of the summer. Why is it so difficult to clean a beach that has been actively used for 4 months in total? I regret to say that I could not see Konyaaltı among the popular beaches, but I remember seeing it among the top 20 beaches once, I hope it escaped my notice.
7-I had the chance to visit the streets of the touristic places they call “OldTown” in a few different cities around the world. The smell and air of Antalya Kaleiçi has always appealed to me differently. While wandering around Kaleici for weeks, I saw empty beverage crates stacked on top of each other. They stacked it 3 meters high like a work of art, probably so that no one would park in that space. So who is this ugly image good for?
8- During my internship, a European tourist came to me and cursed my face. Of course, I didn’t understand, I understood when I said it for the second time. Turns out he said this by looking at the master man while buying bread! You earn money for your efforts, you go on vacation with your family, and there is someone swearing at you just because you bought bread even though you paid for it! Why are these people employed in tourism?
Everyone in this country needs to support the tourism workers who, as a country, put their effort, heart and even a lifetime into tourism. Because;
1-World-renowned hotel chains, especially Turkish investors, are opening hotels in Turkey. Tremendous valuable projects are being carried out in terms of employment and contributing to the country’s economy. We need to help them in the name of all the hard work spent.
(According to 2019 statistics, Turkey ranks 12th with 705 hotels in the list of countries with the most 5-star hotels in the world. Countries left behind by Turkey in this category: India, Italy, Spain and Greece!)
2- Young people studying tourism in Turkey, whose numbers are decreasing, have difficulty in finding a job in these hotels, because re-used tourism professionals transferred from abroad are more popular. It is necessary to support these young people in order to open new businesses that will accept young people who lose their bread to people who cannot find a job in their own country just because they know a foreign language.
3- Let’s welcome the tourists brought to the country by tourism investors, who spend money on digital, global travel agencies, world-famous DJs, world-famous cooks, equipment and technologies so that more tourists come, so that they come again and again. Let them come again so that employment will increase and more tourism income will be included in the country’s economy.
4-Tourists can leave the hotel, shop, eat in restaurants, get to know Turkish cuisine in nostalgic places, tradesmen can earn money, visit our museums, buy products produced by our local workers, and spend more money.
I know that it is not possible for me to explain in one article what tens of universities, thousands of academic studies and hundreds of tourism professionals claiming to be doyens cannot do, but this is a work of heart, a work of love. Let me try my luck at least;
What I think should be – or I wish it were – are what I said;
1- Universities and the sector should work together. “Doyen” tourism professionals should allow, and our academics should offer rational suggestions that have been made. (I had a teacher who translated the book of a hotel chain in America into Turkish and kept saying this is the truth. Some truths are relative and we need to be realistic, my dear teacher)
2-Years ago, I asked a senior manager in the ministry of tourism, how do you think a Destination Management office should be opened in Antalya? The answer I got was “Your name doesn’t matter”. The name is important because it guides to be conscious. But of course, it’s not enough. The state, the ministry, local administrations need to be connected with the sector, with “everyone” in the sector. (Maybe mayors go to Berlin or London to fairs, it’s okay, but first, let the local people see how they are, how will they find their way if tourists come? They need to think about these.) Therefore, the authorities should organize meetings with sector representatives at certain intervals and exchange views. The rabbit is offended by the mountain, the mountain should not lose its news.
“I don’t want to listen to songs anymore, I want to sing” #ÖzdemirAsaf
3-Trainings should be organized for destination management. The first topic of education should be “smile”. Tourism must be positive. You have to smile at the people who come to experience it, whether local or foreign. The subject of the trainings should be enriched in the form of foreign language, expression techniques, etiquette in the service sector. There is no person who does not know, there are people who have not had the chance to learn, and training should be given. When you search the internet, you can find examples of work on destination marketing where even taxi drivers are trained.
“Never stop smiling, you never know who will fall in love with your smile and when”
4-It doesn’t matter whether you call it a civilian tourism policeman, a secret shopper, a police officer, an inspector, or a retired colonel. There are millions of retirees in the country. Let’s give education and send these people to the streets, shopping malls, hotels, airports, areas where tradesmen are located, in short, to places where they will experience like tourists. People who sabotage Turkish tourism, immoral, unjust, thief, Irish etc. People dressed as APACH should be banned from tourism, and if possible, expelled from the country!
5-There is an interesting head that says reading is a waste of time. I think they are born educated at birth, or they get the education they will receive at school as vitamins from the pharmacy, or I don’t know, I would say the best – those who do not like to read-. Turem Training Schools, etc., provide micro-level education for these young people. Thanks to this, at least the need for intermediate staff can continue to be met. We need those who have received tourism training, because a minimum requirement has emerged in the sector that has fallen to the level of “just don’t swear at the customer”.
Where there is a community, it means there are #SocialRules
1-I didn’t notice the red light in Berlin and I can still hear the whistle of the German police while crossing the street on foot;
2- In Dubai, the sign “You will prevent the movement of the tram, you will pay a fine of 30,000 Dirhams” is still in front of my eyes;
3- The memory of my friend who was punished for walking on the bike path in Berlin is still in my mind;
4- In London, I still remember the receipts that the taxi driver took out of the pos device and handed me when I paid;
5-In New York, I still remember the determination of the bus driver who made an announcement after my friend did not put the bag at his feet in the compartment above his head and moved when we placed the bag in the compartment;
Basically, I wrote what people who follow the rules do. Where there is a society, there are #SocialRules, it cannot be without rules.
Authorities should determine the rules that observe the total benefit for a sustainable and profitable tourism that will prosper the country’s tourism in particular. These rules should satisfy both the businesses and the employees, the local people and the tourists. Those who do not follow these rules should be punished immediately. Anyone who repeats should be banned from the profession. That’s all!
The one who loves his country the most is the one who does his duty best!” #MustafaKemalATATÜRK
Thank you for your patience.
Yakup Demir, 30 November 2022