International meetings and trainings for the European Commission Erasmus+ project named “Journeys-Empowerment through Exploration of Cultural Heritage” (2020-1-UK01-KA201-079143), in which Istanbul Medeniyet University Tourism Faculty is a partner, were held in the Netherlands on 10-16 May 2022. In the project, England, Slovenia, Netherlands, Turkey, and Romania are the partners and Prof. Salih KUSLUVAN, Assoc. Prof. Semra AKTAS POLAT, Assoc. Prof. Serkan POLAT and Res. Asst. Gamze YORULMAZER are the project members from our university.
The meetings and trainings took place in Amsterdam and our faculty members Assoc. Prof. Semra AKTAS POLAT, Dr. Eren SEZGEN, Dr. Bahar TÜRKAY and Res. Asst. Gamze YORULMAZER participated in the trainings. In the trainings carried out within the scope of the project, which aims to develop the knowledge and skills of educators and managers of youth-related organizations in the diaspora (immigrants and refugees) living in Europe as a part of Europe’s cultural heritage, Dr. Eren SEZGEN and Dr. Bahar TÜRKAY applied two of the learning activities and methods in the project to the participants of other countries. Within the scope of the program, the details of the digital map and mobile application to be created about the diaspora communities were discussed, a city tour was made in different regions where the meeting was held, museums, creative art studios, exhibitions, restaurants, and cultural heritage items were visited.
All country partners made presentations on cultural heritage within the program and on the third day of the program, Res. Asst. Gamze YORULMAZER made a presentation under the title “Cultural Heritage and Tourism”. In her presentation, she talked about cultural heritage, tangible and intangible cultural heritage, places under protection by UNESCO in the world and in Turkey, evaluation of cultural heritage in terms of tourism, and protection of cultural heritage. Cultural heritage consists of customs, traditions and objects that indicate the lifestyle and thought of a society. She stated that these traditions and objects show a certain lifestyle. Natural heritage areas, unique mountains, lakes, prehistoric caves, places where religious ceremonies are held, ancient ruins, buildings, structures, and places with historical features are included in the scope of cultural heritage and that not only movable objects but also immovable assets are an important part of cultural heritage. She stated that cultural heritage should be preserved and transferred to future generations to ensure the continuity of culture. She pointed out that cultural heritage and its elements are not only the building blocks of society, but also a source of attraction for countries in terms of tourism. She stated that cultural tourism is the most preferred alternative after mainstream sea, sun, and sand tourism and that it is possible to generate tourism income in a planned manner without damaging and corrupting cultural heritage elements.