Taste of Fethiye

Best practice now common practice for 15 Fethiye hotels

taste of Fethiye logo300After five years support, we’re almost ready to stand back from the Taste of Fethiye project in Turkey. The project is now on the verge of being handed over to local organisations. FETAV (Fethiye Tourism, Education, Environment and Culture Promotion) have already taken over organisation of the Taste of Fethiye Craft Fairs, and we’re busy working on agreeing responsibilities that will be handed over to local organisations who will continue to run the Taste of Fethiye brand in future.

LD6H2217The wholesalers that were involved in the project from the beginning are still working with almost all the Taste of Fethiye farmers, which is hugely important to ensure future success. We also had a great increase in involvement from hotels last year, which had a great influence on production and sales.


Fifteen hotels are still purchasing Taste of Fethiye produce, which tells us after all these years of hard work, purchasing local fresh fruit and vegetables from Taste of Fethiye has become a part of their day-to-day business practice.


So, it seems that it IS possible to integrate small, local suppliers into the mainstream tourism supply chain. Myself and Vicky are currently working on an impact assessment report for the project, and I look forward to sharing all that stats with you soon.

SemsiProfileWritten by Semsi Toprak, Programme Co-ordinator, Fethiye (Turkey)

Read more about the Taste of Fethiye project.

Foodie for thought

Ben Peru

I recently spoke at the UNWTO’s World Summit on Gastronomy Tourism in Lima, where our Taste of Fethiye project was held up as best practice.

Taste of Fethiye is not your classic example of gastronomy tourism. Our starting point was how to link small, local farmers to the tourism supply chain. Rather than seeking to attract new “foodie” tourists, we worked within a well-established, mainstream tourism setting.

After listening to food tourism experts from around the world, it became clear that the main hallmarks and benefits of this kind of tourism are that it supports a local supply chain and creates a cultural experience between visitor and host that is hard to beat.LD6H2645

Whilst our main success in Fethiye has been proving that small suppliers can link to big tourism, the project has also done much to create new food experiences, engage customers and support cultural heritage.

For instance, as well as holding many “local food” nights in the hotels, chefs have felt inspired to offer more Turkish cuisine on their menus. We developed food-themed self-guided driving tours (booklets and app) to encourage tourists to explore the rural area and spend locally, and an excursion which visits one of the farms. A Taste of Fethiye local food and craft fair provides a focus for celebrating local enterprises and traditions.

While Taste of Fethiye may not be a typical approach to gastronomy tourism, it has delivered similar results. Thanks to the UNWTO for recognising the importance of the project – both as a Ulysses Award for Innovation finalist, and at the World Summit.

– Ben Lynam, Head of Communications



Making waves in Fethiye

LD6H8867Earlier this year I joined the Travel Foundation, and currently manage programmes in Turkey and Cyprus…

I am particularly excited about Blue Wave, which aims to improve sustainable boating practice in the Muğla region. This part of Turkey is well known for its pristine coastline, but is experiencing increasing demand on its marinas and bays.

With a high level of engagement and support from local stakeholders – private, public and the municipalities – Blue Wave is bringing together stakeholders with the shared goal of strengthening sustainable marine practices. This will include work such as training for staff, information for tourists, sustainable action plans for bays and so on.

The project is contributing to the development of Fethiye as a sustainable tourism destination, while also building on the Taste of Fethiye project, which increased the benefits farmers gain from tourism and encouraged good farming practices.

For the upcoming season, a Blue Wave stakeholder is planning to support Taste
of Fethiye farmers by sourcing the fruit and vegetables for one of its tours from them. This can only encourage other stakeholders to follow suit.

Although strengthening sustainability can take time, local stakeholders in Fethiye are actively collaborating, sharing and implementing best practices. Could we ask for more? 

Jane Rowan, Destinations Programme OfficerJane Rowan

Florida sustainability conference gets a Taste of Fethiye

Taste of Fethiye Project coordinator Semsi Toprak Semsi Toprakrecently held a break-out session in the Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference North America (ESTCNA), the first major sustainable tourism conference following the adoption of the United Nations Sustainability Goals and the outcomes of COP 21 Climate Change negotiations.

The conference was organised by The International Ecotourism Society and hosted by the University of South Florida Patel College of Global Sustainability. The theme for this year’s conference was ‘Transforming Our World Through Sustainable Solutions’.

I can’t tell you how good it was to be able to speak about the project that far from home. Seeing the interest – and even surprise – on people’s faces was worth the trip.

Semsi’s session took place within the ‘Sustainable Food’ theme and was well attended by an international group consisting of tourism professionals, travel writers, private companies and academics.

It was amazing to see the audience’s interest. One question followed another, until at last we got a nod from the moderator to end the session. Once again I was very proud to be part of this unique project, which presents an ideal example for the tourism industry.

– Semsi Toprak, Project Coordinator

> Find out more about Taste of Fethiye


Fethiye farmers step closer to a sustainable future

taste of Fethiye logo300Since 2010, our Taste of Fethiye project in Turkey has been working to increase the benefits farmers in gain from tourism, and encourage good farming practise.

Having successfully increased produce yields, the project looked to assist farmers with the sale of produce to hoteliers, and other businesses, through a wholesaler under the ‘Taste of Fethiye’ brand. Now in it’s final year of Travel Foundation funding, project stakeholders have significantly begun to step-up activities in preparation for ownership after 2015.

Having seen the value in fresh, local produce, the wholesaler (through which the ToF produce is sold) has produced its own marketing materials for ToF branded fruit and vegetables. This includes printed materials such as letterheads and purchase agreements, and new van livery that includes the ToF logo. This is a really positive step towards self-sufficiency.

Senay Coskun, owner of the wholesaler in Fethiye

Senay Coskun, owner of the wholesaler in Fethiye

Below we hear from Senay Coskun, owner of the wholesaler…

“We have been working with the Taste of Fethiye project for 4 years and we are very happy with the progress. After all these years we feel ourselves as a big family with farmers, project manager and hoteliers. We are receiving quality products from the farmers and delivering them to hotels as fresh as possible.

We see the increasing interest from the hoteliers too. Every year we are increasing our sales with new hotel agreements. As the company owner I always thought that we are very much lacking in marketing and communication.  With the help of Taste of Fethiye project we feel that we’ve improved our communication and marketing skills. With the story behind and successful improvements through the years, this project gives us the tremendous opportunity to communicate more with our customers.


Becoming a runner up in UWTO Ulysses Awards was fascinating and we were very proud to play a part in that. We wanted to promote the Taste of Fethiye brand more because the interest towards the project is increasing very rapidly we wanted to stress our involvement. After all as a service provider, working with this unique project is helping us to grow our business.”

The ToF project has been working with 29 farmers throughout 6 villages, who are now supplying produce (via the wholesaler) to hotels and businesses throughout the Fethiye region. To read more on this project, click here.

UNWTO award accolade for Taste of Fethiye project

At the 11th UNWTO Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism on January 28th, the Taste of Fethiye project was 1st runner up in the UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Non-Governmental Organizations category. This a huge achievement, especially given the tough competition, and celebrates the work that has taken place since the projects inception in 2010.

award_001Vicky Erdogan and Semsi Toprak, from the project team based in Turkey, attended the awards ceremony in Madrid.

Semsi, Production and Supply Chain Manager, Taste of Fethiye, said “In the last couple of years we have had great experiences with the Taste of Fethiye project and attending the UNWTO Award Ceremony as a finalist was maybe the highlight of these. Learning more about the other shortlisted projects and meeting with all these inspiring finalists from all over the world were awesome experiences. UNWTO’s Award members of the ceremony organization team were also great hosts. I feel proud that I was able to represent my country and the Travel Foundation at such a respectable event.”

Vicky, Hotels and Marketing Manager, Taste of Fethiye, added “Well it certainly was a night to remember and we were honored to be standing there amongst all those innovative projects from around the world. I felt privileged not only to be representing the Taste of Fethiye project but also the Travel Foundation which is positively striving to be the bridge connecting tourism and sustainability.”

You can see some pictures from the awards ceremony here, and read about the winners of each category here.

More about the project…

Launched in 2010, the Taste of Fethiye project saw collaboration between Travel Foundation, Co-operative Travel, Thomson, First Choice and Thomas Cook. The project was developed primarily to assist farmers in the Fethiye area of Turkey  improve the benefits they gain from tourism and to encourage good farming practise. In practise, the project has seen increased productivity and fresh, local produce being supplied to local hotels, with the benefits being felt by farmers and hoteliers alike. Read more here >

On your marks, get set, COOK!

Taste of Fethiye cookery contest

Photo credit: Jane Atakay

The twice-yearly Taste of Fethiye craft and food fair is always popular, but this time it was spiced up with a Masterchef-style cookery contest.

The spirit of competition was running high, with contestants including housewives, students from vocational and tourism schools, and local villagers.

The competition was held in three categories which were Home Meals, Bakery and Sweets, and it was judged by Chef Mavi, of the Fethiye Professional Chefs’ Association. Rainbow kebab, sea food with artichokes, and traditional Gözleme were among the winning dishes.


Photo credit: Jane Atakay

It was a lovely and colourful day in Kaya Village, a popular location for tourists, in which Taste of Fethiye has been holding craft fairs for the last three years. As well as being an enjoyable day for all involved, the contest helped to celebrate the destination’s delicious locally-grown produce.

Find out more about Taste of Fethiye


In search of the perfect tomato

Tomatos in 'Taste of Fethiye'Finding the most suitable varieties of produce for farmers to grow for our “Taste of Fethiye” project is really important. It’s not just about the tastiest, juiciest or best looking (although that’s all important!). We also want to increase yields for farmers and reduce the need for pesticides and soil improvers.

There are hundreds of varieties of tomato, which we narrow down to about 3-5 for each individual farmer to try out. In total we trial about 40 varieties every year with our farmers to find the perfect seedlings for their growing conditions.

himmet and hasan uysalThis year we think we’ve come to end of that exploration for Hasan Uysal from Arpacik village. Hasan says:

“Following the trials of the past three years we have found the most suitable tomato variety for our greenhouse.  This is the first time that anyone has ever planted this variety in our village, my neighbours are also coming to see the progress and we are very impressed with the yield.”

Bee innovation at Taste of Fethiye farms

Bee on tomato flower-crop-landscape

Semsi Toprak reports from our Taste of Fethiye project in Turkey…

Farmers sometimes use bees for fertilizing the plants in their greenhouses. The bees are introduced artificially from hives that consist of boxes that can be moved from place to place according to where you need them.

Farmers on the Taste of Fethiye project were using imported bees from Holland or Israel to do this job until several years ago when some entrepreneurs established bee breeding facilities in Antalya. These bees are a particular species that are specifically bred to aid tomato production inside greenhouses.


Taste of Fethiye agricultural adviser Himmet Inan

Bees work for about two to three months inside a greenhouse and then the colony has a resting period.

Taste of Fethiye agricultural adviser Himmet Inan usually advises farmers to use at least one hive per greenhouse, but this year two neighbouring greenhouse farmers wanted to see if it would be possible to use the same hive but in different greenhouses to fertilise their tomato plants. We approved the idea to see if it could be a good way to reduce costs by sharing bees.

However, when we were carrying out our routine farm visit in order to provide advice and help to the farmers we found out that the bees were not working as we expected and were not fertilising the tomato plants as they should. Following some investigations and discussions with the farmers we finally got to the bottom of the problem. It came to light that the farmers were also using the bees to fertilise their cherry trees!

What they hadn’t realised was that if a bee starts to fertilize cherries, they don’t want to work on the tomatoes anymore because they prefer cherries! Luckily Himmet was on hand to point this out and advise that the bees were not to be let out of the greenhouse to fertilise the cherries. He added that bees in the greenhouse are actually looking for a way to get out and fly around cherries because they taste better than tomatoes. If we had not been there as part of our routine visit the farmer’s crop would have been seriously compromised.

Read more about Taste of Fethiye

Taste of Fethiye food and craft fair in Kayakoy, Turkey


Last weekend, the third biannual Taste of Fethiye fair took place in Kayakoy, Turkey. The lively celebration of local food and crafts was set the valley’s old meydan, or village square, overlooked by the ruins of Levissi.


Taste of Fethiye fair organisers including Vicky Erdogan (centre) and Semsi Toprak (second from right)

“The Taste of Fethiye fair is now a date firmly established on Kayakoy’s social calendar,” said Taste of Fethiye project coordinator Semsi Toprak. “We will have another fair in September, when there will be more local food products on sale, following the various harvests. Both the May and September fairs are now popular events for tourists and the local economy.”

Hasan Sahin, head teacher at the local school, which had a stall at the market, told the Fethiye Times, “I think this is a really good event for promoting Kayakoy and it gives local people a chance to earn some money and tourists a different way to experience life in our village.”


Taste of Fethiye is a Travel Foundation project that brings together farmers, hoteliers, tour operators and visitors to offer a true taste of the region.

Vicky Erdogan, the hotels and marketing coordinator for Taste of Fethiye, added, “The Taste of Fethiye project was established in the region to encourage and promote sustainable tourism, with local farmers supplying hotels with local produce. The fair is an extension of this, giving local people a chance to sell their crafts, homemade wares, food and homegrown produce. If people in Kayakoy decide to take over the organising and running of the fair in Kayakoy, we feel that Taste of Fethiye will have succeeded in its aim.”

Read more about Taste of Fethiye