Thanks to our scholarship programme with Thomas Cook, Gülşah Boztepe gained an undergraduate degree in tourism in 2011. The programme sponsored five female students to study tourism at Mugla University, giving them a chance to apply for well-paid jobs in Turkey’s growing tourism sector, which at the time was male-dominated.
We caught up with Gülşah to see what she’s been up to since her graduation…
How has your life changed since completing your tourism degree in 2011?
With the support of Thomas Cook and the Travel Foundation, I had management training and tourism industry training and I worked with travel agencies in different departments. I have now continued to my career in accommodation and the hotel industry. I am interested in total quality management and sales and marketing. I am responsible for reservations and sales for two five star hotels in Marmaris. The hotels have 631 and 640 rooms.
On the other hand, in my academic career, I analysed what was missing from the Marmaris region in terms of sustainability, through interviews with hotel and travel agent managers. Finally I decided to start my Master’s degree. My Master’s thesis was about “Sustainable energy applications and use of renewable energy sources in accommodation establishments: the case of Marmaris”.
What have you learned about sustainable tourism and how will you use this in your career?
The environment, through the history of humanity, has suffered great devastation by humans. And we know that we need the environment. Nowadays, a lot of natural resources are faced with extinction. The tourism industry actively uses historical, cultural and natural resources. My mission is to try to raise awareness for efficient use of scarce resources and leave a liveable world for the future.
How does your family feel about your success?
My biggest supporter is my family. They helped me during my studies with constructive criticism and new ideas. They are always proud of me.
What are your hopes for the future?
I will study the expansion of sustainable tourism, development of the local economy, protection of local values and increasing use of renewable energy sources. Environmental resources are universal and we have to take care of them. I will continue my postgraduate studies in this field and continue with a doctoral degree.
I hope that we will work and prepare new projects, presentations and articles with Thomas Cook and the Travel Foundation again.