Ecotourism Strategy with Multi-Criteria Decision Making in Iznik
Iznik is ancient Greek, Roman, and Byzantine city of Nicaea with natural and cultural landscape values on the south east of Marmara Region in Turkey. It was one of the main important cities Hellenistic kingdom of Bithynia, Byzantine and Ottoman periods respectively. The area is also reputable with its lake, historical walls and gates, ceramic tiles, agricultural activities, ancient churches and early periods mosques, hence part of it was declared as different type of protected areas. However, recently, there are number of unsuitable management and economic activities proposed for the area such as villa settlement, changes of protection status, unplanned construction of lake areas, uncontrolled immigration from Istanbul and unsuitable tourism strategies. The basic premise of this research was that ecotourism could be a more sustainable activity for Iznik. Ecotourism is a well-known sustainable tourism strategy for providing balance between ecology and economy in the ecologically and culturally rich landscapes that have also tourism potential. The aim of this research was to define ecotourism criteria for Iznik and offers ecotourism strategies for ecologically and culturally sensitive landscape areas. To reach our aim, SWOT and multi-criteria decision-making method was used by derived from the surveys and interviews with locals and experts. This research proposed a framework by using priority-ranking method for development ecotourism strategies of Iznik. The findings can be an example for sustainable tourism development for other ecologically and culturally areas in Turkey and other countries.