Project Factsheet
Tools for » Alliances for Culture Tourism (ACT) in Eastern Anatolia
Project ID:00067179Description:MDGF-1792-G-TUR Culture
MDG Achievement Fund
Start Date *: 2 Nov 2007
MDGF Culture & Development
End Date*: 31 May 2012
Country: Turkey Project Status: Financially Closed
  Participating Organization:   Multiple


The Provinces of Eastern Anatolia are the poorest in Turkey with the lowest human development index (HDI). Eastern Anatolia and the province of Kars have been the target areas for the Joint Programme. Tourism is a major economic force, and it is estimated that cultural tourism will expand its market share to 20% or more, while today representing 8-12%. In order to preserve the cultural heritage, collaborative efforts between the national and local authorities, the civil society and the private sector are helpful for fostering this type of appreciation and will contribute to social cohesion, especially among young women and men, with regards to matters of culture. The purpose is to contribute to linking the cultural and tourism potential for local economic growth. The cultural heritage has a triple role as a foundation of identity, as a vector for development, and as a tool for reconciliation. The JP is implemented on the basis of existent national strategies, including the Ninth Development Plan (2007-2013), the Government’s Tourism and Strategy Action Plan of 2007 – 2013 and the 2023 Tourism strategy.

The intervention seeks to support pro-poor tourism development policies implemented with framework of social cohesion integration policies by fostering pluralism, dialogue of cultures and the establishment of a culture of peace in Eastern Anatolia and with people of neighbouring countries by 2012.

The JP contributed to the debate on development of sustainable/community-based tourism in Turkey. Experiences and lessons were instrumental in developing new initiatives within the Ministry of Culture and Tourism for supporting the capacities of local and central actors for development of the sustainable/community-based tourism. This included the improvement of the legislative framework and strengthening the dialogue with actors engaged in the management of cultural assets and tourism, as a separate capacity development initiative engaging relevant line ministries involved in sustainable community based tourism.


Outcome 1:

Support to the safeguarding and promotion of cultural diversity and cultural heritage, with a special focus on intangible cultural heritage and the diversity of cultural expressions. A model for strategic direction, prioritisation and coordination of cultural heritage protection and cultural tourism delivery in Turkey’s less developed regions produced and implemented in Kars.

Outcome achievements:

  • Awareness raised and capacities developed for the implementation of relevant institutional standards with reference to UNESCO 2003 Convention.
  • A national inventory process for intangible cultural heritage in Kars and neighboring provinces is advanced (2 workshops organized for local and regional stakeholders from 13 provinces of Eastern Anatolia on how to prepare the national inventory).
  • Awareness was raised, information gathered and processed and capacities developed on safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage in the province of Kars, plus production of books and audiovisual materials and the production of public events (2 international Minstrel’s festivals with a 5,000 audience).
  • Safeguarding the Minstrel’s tradition as Kars’ most renowned intangible cultural heritage.
  • Overall awareness was raised on the concept and value of intangible cultural heritage, both at the level of local communities and with regards to the heritage bearers.
  • The main assets of Kars´ intangible cultural heritage assessed and properly integrated into cultural tourism development processes, to ensure their sustainability.
  • In the tourism sector, a Tourism Master plan was elaborated and was presented at a 3-day workshop in May 2010 with participation of 26 local stakeholders. An assessment of the institutional capacity to develop and management tourism in Kars was carried out and the possible structure of a Tourism Governance Organization was elaborated. A complete qualitative and quantitative mapping of Kars tourism facilities and services was carried out. A marketing strategy, with a detailed 3-year action plan, was formulated, including guidance for the Tourism Information Centre in Kars. Promotional material was developed. A report with detailed research on tourism website development for Kars was prepared.
  • Study tours to Spain were undertaken to develop capacity to local stakeholders and government officials.


Outcome 2:

Creation of a Model for Strategic Direction, Prioritization and Safeguarding of Tangible Cultural Heritage./ Capacities of communities and enterprises increased for income generation and job creation in the culture based tourism sector.

Outcome achievements:

  • Capacities enhanced in the planning and implementation of management tools, particularly for the Site of Ani. This is the main cultural assets and potentially the most important cultural attraction, and a draft management plan based on participatory approach of all relevant stakeholders was developed. The result was an improvement in the safeguarding and management of cultural and natural sites in the project area, and paved the way for their better and sustainable integration into the local tourism development programmes. The Ani Site management planning process is a model to be possibly replicated to other sites as it introduced for the first time in Turkey a methodology based on international standards, and leveraging directly on the institutional structures and capacities of the relevant institutions.
  • This also increased the funds allocated by the Ministry for the restoration of the Site of Ani (Euro 375,000 in 2009, euros 350,000 in 2010).
  • A digital automated system was installed that developed the capacities for registering, conservation, and monitoring of natural and cultural heritage in the province of Kars. Indirectly these activities also determined acceleration in the establishment of the Local Conservation Council in Kars that was eventually opened in 2011.
  • The activities brought significant results in terms of training, institutional and professional capacity building, awareness raising as well as the establishment of partnerships between the central state authorities, the local government agencies, and the stakeholders for the academic sector and civil society.
  • As a result of the capacity building, and of the creation of related operational tools, the conditions were created for ensuring the sustainable integration of local cultural heritage into tourism development process.
  • Various training and workshops were undertaken (on needs assessment, identifying enterprise opportunities for tourism, tourism awareness raising – with 51 participants – and hotel operations –24 participants-, training in English language –62 participants-, and business advisory services for SMEs –50 participants-). At the local level, an embryo of collaborative culture among the private sector has been developed.
  • Two cluster workgroups were established in the areas of human resources development and promotion, to build a local network of stakeholders that unite around a concrete action plan in tourism. Local initiatives were supported to build good practice examples and contribution to the implementation of the Tourism Action Plan. The capacity building carried out by the JP followed two approaches: strengthening the capacities of the public sector in tourism development, management and promotion at the central level and regional level through the involvement of the national and local partners. The second approach was the use of specific training programmes for the private sector, so as to improve tourism service provision and promotion of the cultural assets for cultural tourism.
  • Another achievement was the development of training modules in museum education with the support of UNICEF and the Ministry of Culture that was developed with technical support from the university of Ankara and includes a specific module on Kars, which is being distributed across the country. At the institutional level, the JP had a direct effect in building bridges between Kars and national government officials.
  • The JP significantly contributed to the systematic building of knowledge and awareness of the importance of cultural heritage (tangible and intangible) as past and future assets for the country, particularly among local stakeholders.


Outcome 3:

Local authorities and civil society in Kars and its surroundings and other relevant provinces promote social cohesión and dialogue through fostering of pluralism.

Outcome achievements:

  • The tourism action plan developed within the JP identified strong linkages with relevant provinces and with its surroundings, particularly with the shared culture. The local tourism and cultural initiatives supported within the framework of the JP contributed to the awareness in this topic and acted as seed funding for many initiatives in the area of women’s entrepreneurship, establishment of a cultural tourism route, local gift dolls, etc. The local cluster working groups also served for an improved partnership at the local level.


Best practices:

  • Children museum training modules and children museum rooms in Kars and Erzurum. This is the first peer-to-peer museum module in Turkey that gives the opportunity to have interactive training for children in the museum rooms.
  • Support to the safeguarding and promotion of cultural diversity and cultural heritage and the technical assistance and the mapping of intangible culture in Kars and its surroundings.
  • Another good practice is the grant schemes programme for Kars tourism initiative, which is expected to bring tangible economic and development benefits in the future.


Lessons learned:

  • The start-up time for the JP is too long. It is important to ensure that the intervention supports the priorities of the beneficiaries and more interaction with partners can facilitate better implementation. The duration of the project should be at least three years or more depending on the complexity of the intervention. Check initial indicators to enable adequate monitoring and evaluation.


More details can be found in the final project report:

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If you have questions about this programme you may wish to contact the RC office in Turkey or the lead agency for the programme.

The persons with GATEWAY access rights to upload and maintain documents for the programme:

  • Halide Caylan, RC Officer; Telephone: 90 312 4541087; Email:
  • Esra Ulukan, Programme Finance Associate; Telephone: (90 312) 454 1121; Email:; Skype: esra.ulukan.undp
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