THE IMPORTANCE OF GASTRONOMIC ELEMENTS IN TOURISM ACTIVITIES IN KARS WITH HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL PROPERTIES

Mehtap ÇERKEZ, Arif Emre ERDEN, Özgür KIZILDEMİR

One of the factors that is effective in distinguishing a destination region from other destinations is the gastronomic experience. The behavior of tourists about the gastronomy of a region allows travelers to gain a deeper understanding of the traditions, historical or social relationships of the place they visit. Kars, which is located in the northeast of the Eastern Anatolia Region and is the subject of the study, is an important city with important trade routes and a long history. The city that includes many elements that can create attraction for tourism activities also has a unique cuisine culture with its geographical and climatic features. In this study, it is aimed to identify important tourism assets in Kars region, which is important for tourism due to its natural beauties, history and rich culture, and to determine the importance of gastronomic elements in tourism activities in the city. For this purpose, the datas were analyzed by applying semi-structured interview technique for stakeholders who are important in Kars tourism. Both the increase in the number of tourists, who visited the region need to be willing to taste the local flavors of the tourists, as well as gastronomic diversity of elements in the region reveals that it has a great potential for how much of this region. Based on the opinions of the participants, it was concluded that the tourism potential in the region is not fully utilized. At this point, professional methods should be used to increase gastronomic activities in the region, raise awareness of the local people on the subject, as well as marketing them as an on-site tourist product and as a final product in the national area.                                       

Keywords: Tourism, Local Food, Gastronomy, The Relationship Between Gastronomy and Tourism, Tourism Product