University of Florida News
May 30 2012

Filed under Announcements, InsideUF (Campus), Top Stories on Wednesday,
May 30, 2012.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Students and faculty from the University of
Florida's College of Health and Human Performance will travel to
Turkey next month as part of an ongoing effort to promote peace
through tourism and cultural understanding.

They will research, create and implement tourism initiatives in
collaboration with students and professors from Dokuz Eylul University
in Turkey and Armenian State University of Economics.

This trip is part of a three-year cooperative agreement among the
three universities to strengthen tourism education, research and
industry outreach while bridging the gaps between cultures.

Historically, relations between the Turks and Armenians have been
strained by a number of political and societal issues that have
hindered efforts to unite the region. In October 2009, both countries
agreed to establish diplomatic relations, an effort that is still in
the early stages of development.

Asli Tasci, assistant professor in the department of tourism,
recreation and sport management, and Stephanie Thorn, Eric Friedheim
Tourism Institute Program manager, will travel with 11 UF students
over a 10-day period as they visit Istanbul and Kars and Ani. There,
they will collaborate on a project to employ regional tourism
development initiatives at the Ani Ruins, also known as the City
of 1001 Churches. The ruins are a major cultural and heritage site
significant in both the Armenian and Turkish cultures.

Students will use social media and online networking tools such as
Pinterest, Facebook, Flickr and WordPress to help promote tourism
within the Turkey-Armenia border region. In addition, participants from
all three universities will share presentations on various aspects
of their cultures, covering topics such as music and dance, cuisine,
religion and daily life.

This project is funded by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S.

Embassy in Ankara, Turkey and is sponsored by the EFTI at the
University of Florida.

The Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute is committed to building a bridge
between the tourism industry, organizations, destinations and higher
education through excellence in interdisciplinary research that
provides strategic information focused on a wide array of travel,
tourism and hospitality opportunities.

For more information, please contact Tasci at [email protected] or
352-294-1653, or Thorn at [email protected] or 352-392-3992.