Many travelers to the Turkish Aegean region have a huge interest in the local cuisine, and many hotels already source from local producers. Nonetheless, the connection between agricultural producers and purchasers from the hotel industry still needs to be improved. Furthermore, the concept of organic food is largely unknown in the Turkish hotel industry. The project "Taste the culture", which was funded by ÖGER Tours, Germany’s leading tour operator specialized in travel to Turkey, addressed these issues within two project phases. In the first phase, training courses for hotel staff were developed with the local project partner and organic-farming expert, Gürsel Tonbul. The courses were based on the "Sustainable Food Manual" (in English and German), developed by MODUL University and FH Wien, and included purchasing, storage and processing of organic and sustainably produced foods. The course material conveys the benefits and value of sustainable and regional food. These training units will be tested in hotels at the Aegean coast and optimized where required. In addition, it is planned to establish interactive training units in which employees will visit sustainable agricultural operations in the region and get to know their working methods. The second project phase dealt with the presentation and communication of sustainable food offers. The aim was to design and test communication tools to promote local produce on buffets. This phase was based on the tools and the results of the MU project “Sustainable Food Communication” and implemented in a five-star resort in Izmir Province.
The results showed an average increase in the consumption of the advertised local products of 53.1%. This increased consumption supports local vendors as well as local food producers and also helps to strengthen the integration of hotels into the local economy. A simultaneously conducted guest survey indicated moderately positive changes in the attitude of tourists towards sustainable food. To make this project scalable, the educational material, the communication tools including guidelines for implementation are freely available to the Turkish hotel industry. Using these materials, together with ÖGER Tours, sustainable food trainings and sustainable food communication tools will be implemented in other Turkish hotels in spring 2018.
Press coverage related to the project can be downloaded here
Project leader: Dagmar Lund-Durlacher
Project team: Hannes Antonschmidt, Klaus Fritz, FH Wien der Wirtschaftskammer Wien, Daniela Fischer, University of Applied Sciences Kempten
Period: March - December 2017
Funding: ÖGER Tours