The Blue Wave project, or Mavi Dalga (in Turkish), aims to improve awareness and understanding of the threats to the marine environment from marine tourism – both within the tourism sector and amongst tourists themselves. The project also aims to improve the level of sustainable practices carried out within the sector and amongst tourists, creating a cleaner and more appealing tourism product.
The demand for berthing space in the Muğla region is set to double over the next two decades as recreational marine tourism grows, and most tourists take at least one boat trip during their stay. The increased use of the bays is increasing pressure on the marine environment.
- We established a partnership consisting of cross sector representation from all the stakeholders (marinas, bays, private boat operators, D Marin Göcek, Chamber of Shipping, TURMEPA – environmental NGO and Travel Foundation). This group is responsible for delivering the project and co-ordinating activities.
- We recently produced educational materials for tourists to raise awareness of the threats to the marine environment and how they can mitigate these threats. 60,000 copies have been printed and are being distributed at marinas, bays and by boat operators.
- We have delivered training workshops for staff working at marinas and for boat operators.
- In September 2016, face-to-face surveys took place with crewed boats, as well as mystery shopping surveys to establish the practices of various marine excursions.
As well as helping to protect the marine environment in the Fethiye region, an important aspect of the region’s tourism offering, the learnings from this project have the potential to be scaled up to other marinas and popular boating destinations.