İzmir, a vibrant city located on the western coast of Türkiye, is making great strides toward becoming a prominent sustainable tourism destination.
With its rich historical roots dating back to Greek and Roman times, İzmir offers a unique blend of antiquity and modernity. The city’s commitment to sustainability is evident through its recent membership in the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).
The announcement of İzmir’s membership was met with enthusiasm both locally and internationally. The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) welcomed İzmir with open arms, recognizing the city’s dedication to preserving its historical richness while forging a sustainable future. Randy Durband, CEO of GSTC, praised İzmir’s commitment, stating, “İzmir’s deep respect for its historical richness symbolizes an approach towards its emerging sustainable future.”
In early 2019, İzmir joined the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s (EBRD) Green Cities Framework, aiming to address environmental challenges and establish a vision for a green İzmir. This endeavor resulted in the creation of the Green City Action Plan (GCAP), which proposed 46 actions including infrastructure investments, policy measures, capacity development, and advocacy. The GCAP aligns with İzmir Metropolitan Municipality’s (IBB) Strategic Plan Vision, ensuring a more sustainable and nature-compatible future for the city.
To further its sustainability efforts, İzmir voluntarily joined the Covenant of Mayors (CoM) in 2020. By preparing and implementing a Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP), the city committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving climate resilience. The objectives set by CoM signatories, to be achieved by 2030, include reducing CO2 emissions by at least 40% against the baseline year, increasing climate resilience, and providing secure access to sustainable and affordable energy.
Notably, İzmir’s SECAP aligns with its GCAP, ensuring a holistic approach to addressing pressing environmental challenges. The city’s dedication to sustainability was further solidified with the establishment of the Global Climate Community of İzmir last May. This collective aims to advance İzmir’s mission of becoming a Climate Neutral and Smart City, actively combating the global climate crisis.
Tunç Soyer, the Mayor of İzmir, expressed his excitement about the city’s membership in the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. He stated, “With this membership, İzmir took its first important step in the field of sustainable tourism. Works in harmony with nature and the environment will be introduced to the world as tourism elements.” Soyer emphasized that sustainable tourism is gaining global interest, and İzmir’s proactive approach to sustainability will play a vital role in attracting tourists who prioritize destinations with strong sustainability principles.
As İzmir embraces its role as a sustainable tourism destination, it aims to showcase its commitment to harmonizing nature, history, and modernity. The city’s membership in the Global Sustainable Tourism Council signifies an important milestone in İzmir’s sustainable tourism journey. With its breathtaking coastal views, historical landmarks such as Ephesus and Pergamon, and a vibrant downtown area characterized by Konak Square and the Kemeraltı Market, İzmir offers a unique destination that blends historical charm with sustainable practices.
By prioritizing sustainability and aligning its strategic plans with global frameworks, İzmir is positioning itself as a leader in sustainable tourism. The city’s dedication to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing climate resilience, and ensuring access to sustainable energy sets an exemplary standard for other destinations. As İzmir continues to pursue its vision for a green and sustainable future, it is likely to attract even more environmentally conscious travelers who value destinations committed to preserving the beauty of our planet.