Turkey discovers slow trade and slow tourism
Cittaslow is a movement born out of a little town in Tuscany in 1999, conceived by the former mayor of Greve in Chianti, Paolo Saturnini. Inspired by the Slow Food movement, his idea was to develop a way of living based on improving quality of life by reducing the pace.
Municipalities that join the association seek a return to simpler times, looking to reinstate a forgotten way of being. They adopt the slow and healthy succession of seasons, are respectful of citizens' health, are concerned with the authenticity of products and food, want to revive traditional arts and crafts, to protect historical locations and monuments and embrace the joy of slow and quiet living.
Slow tourism and slow trade
With slow tourism or trade, people resist the idea of conducting their visits or their trade activities quickly. The aim is to find a modern-day counterpart to life as it was once lived, incorporating the best bits of the past and enjoying them in the context of the present-day. A "slow town" resists homogenization, respecting local variations and enabling its inhabitants to lead a calmer and healthier lifestyle. It is also more environmentally sustainable.
Slow Food, which strives to preserve regional and traditional cuisine, together with the cities mirroring their identities with these ideals, is helping to build the Cittaslow international network.
According to the Cittaslow Manifesto, the committee is looking for "towns where men are still curious of the old times, towns rich in theatres, squares, cafes, workshops, restaurants and spiritual places, towns with untouched landscapes and charming craftsman where people are still able to recognize the slow course of the seasons and their genuine products; respecting tastes, health and spontaneous customs."
A utopia for everyone
In these heady times, achieving such a goal would be akin to utopia for many. The movement has expanded to incorporate 100 towns and 10 countries around the world since it was conceived, connecting administrators, citizens and Slow Food partners. The common goal is to have mutual experiences focusing on gourmet food, quality service and the creation of a nurturing environment both personally and culturally.
Professor Esin Can Mutlu said the Cittaslow movement started in Turkey Nov. 28, 2009. It has subsequently broadened to include districts such as Akyaka, Gökçeada, Taraklı and Yenipazar.
Between Dec. 17 and 18 the Turkey Science Committee gathered in Seferihisar to talk about the initiative. "The meeting first focused on the movement and then slow tourism. Attendees also discussed slow trade and slow money concepts," Mutlu said.