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"The reputation of Ayvalık olive oil and its reflection on the tourism sector" was discussed in the panel

Kadri KAYA / AYVALIK (Balıkesir), (DHA)- Within the scope of the 17th International Olive Harvest Festival in Ayvalık district of BALIKESİR, a panel on 'Protecting the reputation of Ayvalık olive oil and reflecting this reputation to the tourism sector' was held with the participation of Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism Özgül Özkan Yavuz. In the panel, it was agreed that Ayvalık's olive trees and product should be protected.

Within the framework of the 17th Ayvalık International Olive Harvest Festival, a panel on 'Protecting the reputation of Ayvalık olive oil and reflecting this reputation to the tourism sector' was held in the main building of Kırlangıç Culture and Life Centre. The panel, moderated by journalist Neşe Berber, was attended by Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism Özgül Özkan Yavuz, Ankara University Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Horticulture, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mücahit Taha Özkaya and Bunge Komili Olive Oils Origination Manager Mehmet Cavlı as speakers.


Özgül Özkan Yavuz, Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, emphasised that the North Aegean destination, which is positioned with Balıkesir and Çanakkale in Turkey's Master Plan, has an incredible potential in terms of tourism, culture and nature and said: "There are more than 3 thousand cultural and natural assets in Balıkesir. This is an incredible figure. Balıkesir ranks fifth in Turkey. What kind of a product we have, what kind of a city we have, what kind of a potential we are sitting on, we really need to think and work on this. Development definitely starts at the local level.

Therefore, the activities we will carry out locally are extremely valuable and special. You live in an important city ranking fifth in Turkey. Especially in the field of gastronomy, 15 of our products have received geographical indication in Balıkesir and applications have been made for 18 products. This is a great potential that not every city is blessed with. Balıkesir has rural tourism, hiking, cycling tours, camping, caravanning and yachting. We want to see more yachts. Why not have the world's most beautiful yacht festivals here? With more effective planned coastal utilisation and of course gastronomy, Balıkesir can actually have a very high international brand value. However, when we chat with tourism professionals, all our investors here have the following perception, 'Tourism is done here for three months.' This is a very wrong thing. This is a very wrong thing. It is not possible for any investment to be feasible in 3 months. For this reason, it is not at all impossible to extend our season to 12 months."


Özgül Özkan Yavuz, Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, said that olive oil is one of the important values that differentiate Ayvalık from many other places in the world and Turkey and added: "Ayvalık olive oil is an extremely important brand. I wonder how complete we have been able to complete branding in this regard. Can anyone write Ayvalık olive oil under their brand name? Registration is very important. Positioning Ayvalık olive oil at a high point is in your hands under the leadership of the Chamber of Commerce."

Yavuz gave an example of the olive oil sales he had seen while studying abroad and said: "Turkey has changed a lot. We have taken great steps when we stop wholesaling local brands, local productions, when we can value our own product and deliver it directly to the consumer, but we need to take this further. As an important and expensive product special for the whole world, of course, a product should be offered in the destination. It is important to position and value all brands in Ayvalık, especially olive oil. For this, it is important to be able to work together, not to break the price, to ensure that the qualified product, qualified destination is sold at the value it deserves."


Another panelist Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mücahit Taha Özkaya said that in order to increase the added value of the product, the characteristics of the product and all the steps from production to sales should be known. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Özkaya emphasised that it is essential to research new clones in olive trees for each region.

Stating that olives are a lifestyle and culture, Mehmet Cavlı said, "Our brands should embrace the geographical indication initiated by Ayvalık Chamber of Commerce. Although 5 million Turks live in Europe, we could not get Ayvalık olive oil with geographical indication on the shelves there. The European Union imposes taxes on oil exported from Turkey to protect its own product. Our costs are very high, the support given is much lower than the support in the European Union. Our producers and exporters are struggling. As Ayvalık, we need to protect our tree and our product."

Following the panel, Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism Özgül Özkan Yavuz was presented a plaque of appreciation by Ali Uçar and Mehmet Cavlı, President of Ayvalık Chamber of Commerce. After the panel, Deputy Minister Yavuz visited the Olive Oil Market and received information from the producers.

Ayvalık District Governor Hasan Yaman also watched the panel. (DHA)


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