We are eight women tourism scholars whose paths intersected at the Tourism Administration Department, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey. Our story includes a myriad of accomplishments and challenges since our department’s inception in 1976. First, as a two-year undergraduate program, then its evolution to a four-year program, followed by its expansion to include an MA program, involved the invaluable contributions of many faculty members (full-time, part-time, women and men). We have known each other in different roles, e.g., student-professor relationships or alumni of the same schools. We are now proud colleagues supporting one another to create spaces for collaborative research and teaching for sustainable tourism in a context posing diverse challenges at the individual and institutional levels.
Being a faculty member at Boğaziçi University provides various advantages, while its status as a state university is not without its challenges. The education language is English, which is a great facilitator for international collaborations in research. On the other hand, it isolates us from other universities in the country, with courses taught in Turkish and a predominantly domestic focus on teaching and research. We are nearly seen as foreigners because of our engagement in international collaborations and our aim for publications with a broader impact. The tenure track system in higher education in Turkey depends on a tenure review process, where external reviewers from other universities evaluate the candidate’s work and impact in the field. Therefore, the isolation from other universities and male-dominant academic life represent other challenges for our career advancements. That is, we also face the risk of being negatively evaluated by other academicians, who could be biased against women or faculty members from universities with a curriculum in the English language.
Categorized as a research university by the national higher education authority, Boğaziçi University supports researchers in multiple ways. The university’s grants for scientific research projects (BAP) are particularly critical for scholars at the start of their careers. Our BAP start-up projects contributed to the research presence of many of us. Driven by Boğaziçi University’s focus on research, we established links with researchers from local and foreign universities. Pairing with researchers from other universities worldwide has provided benefits such as access to varied sources of funding, knowledge and synergies that allow for cross-fertilization of ideas. Many of these partnerships have been formed at international academic conferences in which long-lasting friendships were also established. Unsurprisingly, many of these partnerships have been with other like-minded women scholars.
Turkey’s geographical location as a bridge between the Middle East and Europe, paired with the research and international orientation of Boğaziçi University, has also helped us expand our networks. Our research projects (e.g., COST applications and EU-funded projects), international student and faculty exchange programs, joint field study programs and guest lecturers from abroad (the US, the UK, Denmark and Japan) resulted from this positive enabling contextual environment.
We pioneered a sustainability focus in tourism management education at the undergraduate level, which also paved the way for a MA program titled “Sustainable Tourism Management,” the first program on sustainable tourism in Turkey approved by the Higher Education Council. We contribute to the program’s interdisciplinary nature and support students from diverse backgrounds interested in sustainable tourism management. As tourism scholars united around sustainability, our collective journey shows how we take collaborative action for research and networking and create long-term inclusive partnerships with diverse stakeholders for positive and sustainable change.
Multidisciplinary backgrounds & the team spirit
Sustainable tourism unites us, but we also have diverse backgrounds. Marketing, finance, business management, tourism management, economics, organizational psychology, and cultural heritage build multidisciplinary and even transdisciplinary approaches to connect knowledge and understanding to the real world. This diversity of our studies is reflected in Figure 1, which summarizes the interests that unite us as tourism academicians.
We produce research on the periphery of international scholarly networks. Due to a context distant from groups shaping tourism scholarship, it takes additional time, effort, and resources to reach global networks. Thus, we risk working alone for our tenure promotions in our discipline areas while working under the pressures of productivity and anxieties of ‘publish or perish’. In an increasingly competitive academic world, we strive harder to make our voices heard at the international level and overcome some of these challenges. We form unique collaborations in our disciplines at the national and international levels. We serve as reviewers and editorial board members for international journals to enlarge our networks. We collaborate with our PhD classmates, conference acquaintances, and new colleagues that we introduce to each other from these networks, strengthening the partnership and team spirit. International conferences, in which some of us acted as organizers at various times, also pave the way for new collaborations. Although we are pushing the paddle alone in our disciple areas, our diverse backgrounds allow us to collectively engage in sustainable tourism projects and approach the subject matter from various perspectives.
Engagement and Support for Students
We engage students in sustainability research and fieldwork through several means. We value outreach programs; therefore, we design classes so that students can find the opportunity to engage with tourism stakeholders. And we support them by establishing networks in the areas of their interests for pursuing their projects and theses (e.g., business councils, government agencies and community leaders). These interactions allow our students to get involved in real-life situations, gain hands-on experience and learn to address complex concepts and ideas. Some examples include evaluating Iznik’s transcription as a UNESCO World Heritage List, the Tourism Master Plan for the Thrace region (with the Thrace Regional Development Agency), Improving the Quality of Vocational School Education in the Thrace Region and the case of wine tourism in Bozcaada.
International projects further reinforce cultural exchange and recognition, such as consulting projects as part of the UNWTO’s volunteers’ program (in collaboration with George Washington University) and international applied student research projects (e.g., cooperation with San Diego State University). The results of these projects are presented at conferences and published as book chapters or as articles in peer-reviewed journals, which further contribute to the students’ academic progress. The field trips that are part of these projects prove essential for students to go beyond the learning in a classroom setting, engage with tourism practitioners and observe the implications of targeted actions in the tourism industry. Overall, we believe that through Boğaziçi University’s undergraduate and postgraduate tourism programs and supportive efforts, we offer our students the potential to become aware, alert, and responsible ‘global citizens’.
The know-how generated from our research and teaching contributes to applied projects that reflect our commitment to steering Turkey toward a more sustainable development vision through tourism. Some examples are strategic plan projects for destinations in collaboration with regional development agencies and partnerships with professional associations in the industry. We work with international governmental and non-governmental organizations, facilitating the integration of Turkey into global tourism networks. Additionally, some of us are part of the Academic Board for the Turkish Association of Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB), consulting the association on training and certification topics. The board has a potential role in shaping the future skill and knowledge requirements for the sector and the need for education programs.
Breaking the waves
We work through the challenges of working at a state university, struggling with gender-related issues in a male-dominated industry and culture, and in some cases facing discrimination as foreign employees. Tourism is seen at its tactical level in the country and evaluated using its economic outcomes; therefore, our work and efforts mostly resemble lone voices in the wilderness, both in academia and practice. Some of the challenges we face are not specific to our gender but are generally derived from the Turkish context. Whether men or women, academics in Turkey face financial, bureaucratic, and political constraints.
Budgetary constraints significantly restrict the ability to carry out research. Low wages in higher education institutions result in fewer men preferring academic careers. Typical of many developing nations, men are generally regarded as the primary bread earner for the family, and they tend to choose higher-paying jobs outside of academia. Our Sustainable Tourism Management master’s program mainly attracts female students, as men choose degrees that ensure immediate employability. This unique condition creates a gender gap in the academic environment. For male academics who decide to stay in higher education, consulting and other higher-paid activities are also available and more accessible than for women.
Triggered by the current political environment in Turkey, both governmental institutions and industry are male-dominated, in some cases exercising power and pressure on females and abusing authority. This concerning atmosphere is rapidly encroaching into our bubble at Boğaziçi University, with virtually all of the positions of power changing from a gender-balanced to a status in which men are ruling.
Different rules apply to foreign academics, such as not being eligible for unpaid leave (or unpaid maternity leave) or a sabbatical, which point out inequality of opportunities to pursue research and promotion. Foreign scholars are also not allowed by their contracts to participate as consultants or researchers in projects outside the university. It might be possible to overcome this to a certain extent through the support of colleagues, although it might limit the access to several consulting projects that could have provided the basis for the collection of data for research.
Remote work was forced on us because of the pandemic, and our experiences echo those of many other women worldwide. While working from home has had some advantages and benefits, for many it also has negative consequences. Motherhood means having less available time for oneself and achieving work-life balance in the socio-cultural structure is built in a way absorbing more time from mothers than from fathers. Especially those with younger children have had to deal with the challenge of working from home while caring for the family, and as a consequence, they suffer from remote work.
Overwhelming administrative work is an issue that academics share worldwide. The additional difficulty is perhaps the combination of administrative duties and working in a state university with no administrative staff, especially those that are proficient in English to support our international projects. When involved in research projects, academicians need to complete the administrative project work themselves, and they cannot practically ‘buy their time’ off even though they bring in external funds to the university. Having students as interns helps with some of the above issues while introducing them to the country’s other side of academic life. Nevertheless, flexibility paired with colleagues’ goodwill could make up for such challenges and help create time for work.
Our collective contribution
We have compiled a selected list of our publications to summarize our collective contribution to research. As we unite around our Sustainable Tourism Management program, we have included our articles and book chapters that focus on sustainable tourism and the ones that we have worked together with our students in this program. The list includes 43 publications (32 journal articles and 11 book chapters) and is presented at the end of this chapter. Our publications list covers the period from 2006 to 2022, however, most of our publications (30 out of 43) are recent and published after 2019. The publications also reveal our research networks; while most of the publications (19 papers) include colleagues from other institutions, 13 papers include our students and 7 include colleagues from our department as coauthors. Most of our articles have been published in leading journals in tourism (e.g., Annals of Tourism Research, Current Issues in Tourism, Tourism Management and Journal of Sustainable Tourism) and in journals focusing on different aspects of sustainability (e.g., Sustainability, Journal of Economy Culture and Society, Journal of Business Ethics Education). Similarly, our book chapters have been mainly peer-reviewed and edited books by international publishing companies (e.g., Routledge, Springer, Emerald).
Our collective contribution to the literature on sustainable tourism is mostly by providing evidence from Turkey. The research setting of 19 of our publications is in Turkey. However, we also have publications that focus on different geographies, such as Greece, Israel, and Serbia or on comparative contexts. Some of our papers are on developing frameworks based on the characteristics of the context. In these studies, we address a wide range of sustainability issues, including “sustainable development of destinations”, “enhancement of tourism in less developed areas”, “community resilience“, “tourism governance and planning”, “engagement of local communities in the planning process”, “collaboration with stakeholders”, “overtourism”, “sustainable consumption and production patterns (SCPs)”, “responsibility of travelers”, “residence wellbeing”, “responsible host behavior” and “education for sustainability”.
We also investigate “effective leadership”, “effective communication”, “place branding”, and “corporate social responsibility” strategies for sustainable tourism. Furthermore, we tackle issues of “animosity”, “political risks” and “international relations” for potential peace implications. We have worked on “conservation of biodiversity”, “economic and social sustainability”, and “conservation of cultural heritage” as well.
We also address sustainability issues and challenges of various types of tourism including “culture-based tourism”, nature-based tourism”, “community-based tourism”, “agri-tourism”, “wine tourism”, “yoga tourism”, and “dark tourism”. We approach the issues from various perspectives, taking tourists, residents and host communities, development agencies, small projects, destinations, and hotel or restaurant companies as units of analysis in our studies that constitute our collective contribution. Consequently, our collective contribution offers methodologies to investigate sustainability issues, frameworks to conceptualize and analyze sustainable tourism implementation and empirical evidence from our context on tourism as a tool for sustainable development. Our collective contribution to research is summarized in Figure 2.
Conclusion over our collective contribution
We share tourism academics’ inspirations, enthusiasm, and challenges in different contexts. We want to tell our story, maybe initially to ourselves, and put our efforts into perspective. But we also want to address women who feel excluded in the periphery of tourism scholarship.
Our department has been traditionally woman-dominated. Yet, we would like to thank our male colleagues in Tourism Administration Department for their support and cooperation. The gender imbalance has given rise to some flexibility in applying the existing regulations and policies. Hiring at the department has generally been considered from a long-term e.g., temporary leaves, such as maternity leave, are balanced against the long-term ability to keep valued academicians. These long-term policies have contrasted sharply with the attitudes toward women academics outside of our protected bubble environment. Despite these attempts for flexibility, the department has been limited in its endeavour to overcome rigidity by the strict bureaucracy and regulations that constrict the action of universities in Turkey.
When attending meetings with tourism professionals and scholars in Turkey, we often find ourselves as a few women among a large group of men, which might sometimes feel very daunting. Thus, we socialize only with these women, and consequently, most of the co-authors and academic partners are women. Despite all the challenges described in this chapter, we are confident that we have contributed to advancing tourism education and research domestically and globally.
The most important aspect of our success is perhaps our mutual support and cooperation. As we have held a leadership role in Turkey’s academic ecosystem and contributed to the task of developing a more sustainable form of tourism in Turkey, we reflect on our accomplishments and our journey together. But we also look to the road ahead with the hope of seeing other talented women join us.
Written by Sevil Acar, Maria D. Alvarez, Evinç Doğan, Ezgi Erkmen, Bengi Ertuna, Burcin Kalabay Hatipoglu, Stella Kladou, and Duygu Salman-Öztürk, Boğaziçi University, Turkey
Selected list of our publications
Alvarez, M. D., & Asugman, G. (2006). Explorers versus Planners: A Study of Turkish Tourists. Annals of Tourism Research, 33(2), 319-338.
Alvarez, M. D., & Campo, S. (2020). Consumer animosity and its influence on visiting decisions of US citizens. Current Issues in Tourism, 23(9), 1166-1180.
Alvarez, M. D., & Campo, S. (2014). The influence of political conflicts on country image and intention to visit: A study of Israel’s image, Tourism Management, 40, 70-78.
Alvarez, M. D., Ertuna, B., Ünalan, D., & Hatipoğlu, B. (2014). The Role of Regional Agencies. In Tourism as an Instrument for Development: A Theoretical and Practical Study. Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Armutlu, M. E., Bakır, A. C., Sönmez, H., Zorer, E., & Alvarez, M. D. (2021). Factors affecting intended hospitable behaviour to tourists: hosting Chinese tourists in a post-Covid-19 world, Anatolia, 32(2), 218-231. DOI: 10.1080/13032917.2020.1855595
Ay, E., İpek, K., Özdağ, N. B., Özekici, E., & Alvarez, M. D. (2019). Travel bloggers as influencers: What compels them to blog. In N. Kozak, & M. Kozak (Eds.), Tourist destination management (pp. 159–177). Springer International Publishing.
Aydın, B., & Alvarez, M. D. (2020). Understanding the Tourists’ Perspective of Sustainability in Cultural Tourist Destinations. Sustainability, 12(21), 8846. MDPI AG. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/su12218846
Ayhan, N., & Kladou, S. (2022). Moving away from wine tourism and sustainable tourism development: The paradox in the case of Bozcaada (Tenedos), Turkey. In Kladou, S., Farmaki, A., Andriotis, K., Stylidis, D. (eds.) Tourism Development and Planning in the Middle East. CABI Regional Book Series. (forthcoming)
Campo, S., & Alvarez, M. D. (2014). Can Tourism Promotions Influence a Country’s Negative Image? An Experimental Study on Israel’s Image. Current Issues in Tourism, 17(3), 201-219.
Campo Martínez, S., & Alvarez, M. D. (2010). Country versus destination image in a developing country. Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing, 27(7), 748-764.
Çifdalöz, E., Semiz, B., Parlak, B.Ö., Yangu, G., & Acar, S. (2022). Input-Output Effects of the Turkish Hospitality Industry in the Covid-19 Era, Forthcoming in International Journal of Tourism Policy.
Dogan, E., & Kan, M. H. (2020). Bringing Heritage Sites to Life for Visitors: Towards A Conceptual Framework for Immersive Experience. Advances in Hospitality and Tourism Research (AHTR). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.30519/ahtr.630783
Dogan, E., & Stupar, A. (2017). The limits of growth: A case study of three mega-projects in Istanbul, Cities, 60, 281–288.
Dogan, E. (2018). The Dilemma of Place Branding: Transitory mega-events vs. sustainable image-building. Transnational Marketing Journal, 6(2), 101-119.
Ertuna, B., Hatipoglu, B., Cantetikler, E., Dağ, S., Ormanlıoğlu, B., & Şenkal, S. Ç. (2022-Forthcoming). A Critical Inquiry into The Sustainability of NBT: Responsibility of the Traveler
Ertuna, B., Gu, H., & Yu, L. (2022). “A thread connects all beads”: Aligning global CSR strategy by hotel MNCs, Tourism Management, 91. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2022.104520
Farmaki, A., Ioannides, D., & Kladou, S. (eds.) (2022). Peer-to-peer Accommodation and Community Resilience. CABI.
Farmaki, A., & Kladou, S. (2020). Why do Airbnb hosts discriminate? Examining the sources and manifestations of discrimination in host practice. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 42, 181-189. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhtm.2020.01.005
Gülşen, U., Yolcu, H., Ataker, P., Erçakar, İ., & Acar, S. (2021). Counteracting Overtourism Using Demarketing Tools: A Logit Analysis Based on Existing Literature, Sustainability (Special Issue “Overtourism in Historic Cities”), 13(19), 10592.
Hatipoglu, B., Alvarez, M. D., & Ertuna, B. (2016). Barriers to stakeholder involvement in the planning of sustainable tourism: The case of the Thrace region in Turkey. Journal of Cleaner Production, 111, 306-317.
Hatipoglu, B. K., Anıl, O., Memiş, S., & Şahin, D. (2020). Entrepreneurship development and Slow Food events. In Events Tourism (pp. 86-102). Routledge.
Hatipoglu, B., & Inelmen, K. (2021). Effective management and governance of Slow Food’s Earth Markets as a driver of sustainable consumption and production, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 29 (11-12), 1970-1988.
Hatipoglu, B., Ertuna, B., & Salman, D. (2020). Small-sized tourism projects in rural areas: the compounding effects on societal wellbeing, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, doi:10.1080/09669582.2020.1784909
Hatipoglu, B., Ertuna, B., & Öztürk, D. S. (2019). Corporate social responsibility as a tool for tourism development: An Evaluation from a community perspective. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 31(6), 2358-2375. doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-05-2018-0448.
Hatipoglu, B., Ertuna, B., & Öztürk, D. S. (2019). Evaluation of a Turkish company’s progress towards a CSR 2.0 approach to corporate governance. D. Lund-Durlacher, V.Dinica, D.Reiser, & M.S. Fifka (Eds). Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility in Tourism (CSR, Sustainability, Ethics & Governance Series) (pp. 343-360). New York: Springer. ISBN 2196-7075
Hatipoglu, B. (2018). Going beyond the classroom in education for sustainability: Partnering with non-governmental organizations and the private sector in a project management course. Journal of Business Ethics Education, Special Issue: The Reflective Practitioner: Learning Beyond the Business School, 15, 69-94. ABDC Category B.
Hatipoglu, B., Ertuna, B., & Sasidharan, V. (2014). A referential methodology for education on sustainable tourism development. Sustainability, 6(8), 5029-5048.
Karabati, S., Dogan, E., Pinar, M., & Celik, L. M. (2009). Socio-economic effects of agri-tourism on local communities in Turkey: The case of Aglasun. International Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Administration, 10(2), 129–142.
Karagoz, H. A., Demirciftci, T., & Erkmen, E. (2022). Local restaurants’ effect on tourist experience: a case from Istanbul. Journal of Economy Culture and Society, 65, 1-15.
Kladou, S. (2022). Gastro-cultural identities for place branding: The forbidden fruit of minorities? In Slocum, S.L. (ed.) Building inclusion in tourism: Overcoming institutional discrimination and bias. Routledge. (forthcoming)
Kladou, S., Kavaratzis, M., Rigopoulou, E., Salonika, E. (2016). The role of brand elements in destination branding. Journal of Destination Marketing & Management, 6(4), 426-435. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jdmm.2016.06.011
Kladou, S., Psimouli, M., & Kapareliotis, I. (2020). The role of brand architecture and brand heritage for family-owned wineries: the case of Crete, Greece. Int. J. Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 41(3), 309–330.
Kladou, S., Psimouli, M., Skourtis, G., Giannopoulos, A., & Eskitark, N.H. (2021). Shedding light upon the shadows: Exploring the link between country destination image and dark tourism. In N. Pappas, & A. Farmaki, (Eds.) Tourism Dynamics: New perspectives and changing directions. Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers. http://dx.doi.org/10.23912/9781911635932-4939
Kuzuoglu, S., & Hatipoglu, B. K. (2021). The Lack of Policy, Planning, and Governance: The Mismanagement of Visitor Pressure in Cumalıkızık, Bursa—A World Heritage Site. Mediterranean Protected Areas in the Era of Overtourism (pp. 241-263). Springer, Cham.
Kuzuoglu, S., Ata, S., Hatipoglu, B., & Ertuna, B. (2020). Subjective well-being in world heritage Sites: Localization and Thematic Integration of the Happiness Index for Turkey. International Journal of Community Well-Being, 3(2), 223-240.
Kuzuoglu, S., & Kladou, S. (2021). Challenges to sustainability in prospective World Heritage Sites: The case of Iznik/Nicaea, Turkey as an up-and-coming tourism destination. In Decrop, A., Correia, A. & Kozak, M. (eds.) Marketing sustainable and collaborative tourism in a digital world, Goodfellow Publisher.
Kyuho, L., Kladou, S., Usakli, A., & Shi, Y. (2020). Co-branding exercises in New World Wine Countries: The case of Yantai, China. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Insights. Retrieved from doi.org/10.1108/JHTI-06-2020-0109
Ozdemir, O., & Erkmen, E. (2022). Top management team gender diversity and firm risk-taking in the hospitality industry. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 34(5), 1739-1767.
Ozdemir, O., Binesh, F., & Erkmen, E. (2021). The effect of target’s CSR performance on M&A deal premiums: a case for service firms. Review of Managerial Science, 1-34.
Öznalbant, E., & Alvarez, M. D. (2020). A socio-cultural perspective on yoga tourism. Tourism Planning & Development, 17(3), 260-274.
Suna, B., & Alvarez, M.D. (2021). The role of gastronomy in shaping the destination’s brand identity: An empirical analysis based on stakeholders’ opinions. Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management, 30(6), 738-758.
Ulus, M., & Hatipoglu, B. (2016). Human aspect as a critical factor for organization sustainability in the tourism industry. Sustainability, 8(3), 232.
Yucel, A.G., Koksal, C., Acar, S., & Gil-Alana, L.A. (2022). The impact of COVID-19 on Turkey’s tourism sector: fresh evidence from the fractional integration approach, Applied Economics, DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2022.2047602