Ecotourism is an important instrument used for contribution to preservation of the natural landscape and offers a solution to the poverty problem commonplace in underdeveloped regions. In addition, it produces a structure utility for the economic development and political progress of the local population, providing a resource for training of the visitors and for preservation. For the last five years, there have been significant initiatives concerning sustainable and environmentally sensitive tourism in Turkey. The National Tourism Strategy is one of these initiatives and its primary objective is to ensure the integration of ecotourism within protected areas. As part of this strategic plan, the Western Black Sea Region is designated as a notable area wherein ecotourism is to be expanded. The Kastamonu-Bartin Kure Mountains National Park (KMNP) stands in the foreground of this region, being one of the major focuses of the strategy. The goal of this discussion is to assess the ecotourism potential of Kastamonu-Bartin KMNP and additionally to provide an orientation for ecotourism activities to be developed for the region. In this regard, the "KMNP Buffer Zone-Ulus Region Ecotourism Development Framework" has been produced as a recommendation following the results of the study conducted by means of the Ecotourism Opportunity Spectrum (ECOS) method in which the ecotourism potential of twenty (20) villages was evaluated. The study area was divided into two regions in the framework. As a result of employing ECOS, centers of ecotourism were described and identified strong and weak, with weak centers found to be dependent upon strong centers. The results of this study contribute significantly to the assessment of the ecotourism potential for the region studied, and they apply especially to the protected areas and their appropriate development.
Key words: Rural landscape planning, Ecotourism.
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