Turkey’s Muğla region hosts 3.5 million tourists every year. The region offers some of Turkey’s most popular tourist hotspots such as Bodrum, Marmaris and Fethiye. TUI Care Foundation, together with the Travel Foundation, recently launched its project ‘Flavours from the Fields’, an ambitious project aiming to boost rural cooperatives and local entrepreneurs by creating access to markets in the tourism sector.
“Flavours from the Fields” increases market shares of locally processed agricultural products, such as honey, olive oil and jams, from the Muğla region by facilitating sales into hotels and tourism businesses. This yields business growth for small entrepreneurs and more secure and sustainable livelihoods for rural families, utilizing the tourism industry.
At the beginning of this year, an analysis of region-wide opportunities for both supply and demand identified producers and products, which appeal to hotels and tourism businesses. An official launch with local stakeholders, announcing the project’s goals and ambitions took place in early April and resulted in an impressively positive, countrywide echo by media, cooperatives, hotels and political actors of Turkey.
In light of the launch, a number of hotels expressed their intention to join the initiative and conversations about business opportunities followed thereafter. The first successful agreement was signed in April. TUI Blue Sarigerme Park has committed to buy its honey, olive oils and dried apples from small producers and cooperatives in the region. The volume amounts to a value of approximately EUR 17,000 this season only. The very first deliveries took place this week.
Agehan Manav, 34, the ambitious CEO of Maki Bahce Natural Products, expressed her excitement about the done deal with the hotel: “I’m very happy with the opportunity this project provided for me. I never supplied products to a hotel of this size. Now I feel more connected with an attractive sector in which I wanted to engage since a long time.”
Yavuz Zeyrek, General Manager of Sarıgerme Park, about the project: “We are excited about the support of “Flavours of the Fields”, which helps us to source high quality local products. This adds value to both our guest’s experience and the local economy.”
Over the next 3 years, “Flavours from the Fields” aims to link local produce and products to up to 50 hotels in the region. The programme is part of TUI Cares, the economic empowerment strategy of the TUI Care Foundation, which aims to uplift and support 10.000 livelihoods by 2020.