Remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) are effective tools for acquiring fast and accurate information about the Earth's resources and for providing a medium for the efficient flow of information. Moreover, these systems are particularly suitable for determining land use types and monitoring their variation through time. In this study, changes in land cover and land use types in the last 23 years were determined for the town of Kemer (in the province of Antalya) by means of remote sensing and GIS. Kemer is located within the western Mediterranean region of Turkey and is of national and international importance due to its natural, cultural, historical and tourism significance. Stereoscopic interpretation of aerial photographs and visual interpretation of high resolution IKONOS images were conducted and land cover type changes over 23 years were determined using the Coordination of Information on the Environment (CORINE) methodology. In this context, eight different land cover types were examined: and their changes were analysed using data from 1981, 1992 and 2004. Results indicate that urban land use increased approximately 10 times, from 86.3 ha to 931.0 ha, and tourism and secondary residence land use increased nearly 140 times, from 5.3 ha to 715.8 ha. In contrast, decreases of 65.8% in complex cultivation patterns, 37.2% in coastal dunes and beaches, and 2.1% in permanent crops were observed. This land use change reflects the large scale net loss of natural resources in the area and this trend does not suggest sustainable natural resource management. Over the last quarter of a century, the most significant reason for changes in land use in the Kemer area appears to be caused by the pressure from the tourism and secondary residence sectors.