SUSTAINABILITY WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF GASTRONOMY TOURISM: THE CASE OF EBEM KÖFTESİ
In the world where tourism is developing rapidly, people travel more and are now turning to alternative tourism activities according to the conditions of the present day. In this context, it is observed that, in line with the socio-economic developments of the societies, there is a tendency towards alternative tourism types and local products in preference for travel. It is important that enrichment, correct presentation and marketing of local products for sustainability of tourism in our country which is prominent with its natural and cultural values. Food culture considered by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) as an intangible cultural heritage can also be considered as a tool for destination marketing within sustainable tourism. The food culture, known as the intangible cultural heritage, has been transmitted from past to present. However, the gastronomic, also known as a discipline that examines the relation between food and culture, is becoming increasingly important. Gastronomy emphasized the need to consider the past, preservation and sustainability of food cultures.
Although the role of food in tourism is very old, gastronomy tourism is a new tourism product and a new kind of tourism. Gastronomy tourism is kind of tourism, with rapid development, that has a very important place in the country’s economies, Gastronomy tourism is expressed as an alternative tourism thus motivates tourists to travel to destinations that does not include only food and beverage industry, tourism industry, restaurants, but also covers every experience related to kitchen. However, it is not enough to have a diverse food culture unique to the country/region, and it is also important to ensure the sustainability of this culture. It is known that governments, researchers and industries have openly confirmed the strong relationship between food, culture and tourism. It is emphasized that local and regional foods are a major contributor to the sustainable competition of destinations.
It is important that our food, one of our intangible cultural values, is preserved, possessed and introduced as a touristic value. Today, societies preserve their own culture by using sustainable tourism and geographical marking. In this context, each region of our country, which has a rich source, has its own unique values. Ulubey is a district of Uşak in Turkey. Ebem Meatballs is a regional and traditional food of the region Ulubey. It is a local product that has gained value in Ulubey region. Ebem meatballs are a kind of meatball made with minced meat and flour. In ancient times, Ebem meatball were made from camel meat. The camel meat was minced by pounding with stones. This is the distinctive feature of Ebem meatballs. This process was done by the oldest woman in the house. So Ebem Köftesi means meatball made by grandmother. However, today the camel is not easily found. Therefore, Ebem meatballs are mostly made from beef.
Consequently Ulubey Ebem Köftesi is emphasized on many values of Uşak Province and it is aimed to emphasize the importance of regional values as a sustainable destination marketing tool. For this purpose, conceptual literature survey was conducted and secondary data were used. As a result, Ulubey Ebem Köftesi is considered to be a convenient tool for sustainable tourism destination marketing. The Ulubey Ebem Köftesi example will provide a significant advantage in the competition of destinations to ensure the sustainability of preserving the authenticity of local food. It is important to make the necessary efforts to contribute to the development of the regional tourism activities as one of the destination marketing tools through the geographical marking with the support of the local people, local government and non-governmental organizations. Ulubey Ebem Köftesi will be taken under legal protection by taking geographical protection and will be used for regional interests. Geographical marking will provide protection, promotion, marketing and economic value of the local gastronomic heritage. Thus, it will increase the awareness of the Ulubey Ebem Meatball, which has an intangible cultural value for the region. So, the Ebem meatball can be prevented from disappearing from the Ulubey culinary culture. Production systems can be established by local governments to enable local people to move to production.
Ulubey Ebem Meatball is suitable for the display of gastronomic products like Akçaabat Meatballs, Inegöl Meatballs, Adapazarı Islama Meatball, Sivas Meatballs. And it can contribute to sustainable tourism and thus to sustainable gastronomy tourism as a marketing tool that helps to establish national and international connections. In this context, the presentation of the local foods of our country which is very rich in terms of food and beverage to a certain standard will contribute to national and international promotion and marketing of our country’s tourism.
Keywords: Tourism, Gastronomy Tourism, Sustainability
* Ebem Köftesi means meatball made by grandmother.