The Turkish Union of Tourist Guides (TUREB) Prepared a Report to Convey the Sector's Demands to the New Government

Ankara - Turkish Daily News

Tourism managers expect urgent measures from new government TUREB Chairman Serif Yenen demanded the new government to determine stable state politics for tourism, National Tourism Council to become law and tourist education mobilization to start Guides are people who will reveal tourist profile most truly. So, while determining general tourism policies and taking sectoral decisions, guides' views must be taken into consideration 


Guzin Yildizcan 
Istanbul - Turkish Daily News 

Because of the fact that the tourism sector is one of the factors determining Turkey's future, the Turkish Union of Tourist Guides (TUREB) prepared a report to convey the sector's demands to the new government. 

TUREB Chairman Serif Yenen stated that they expressed in the report the determination of stable state politics and the preparation of a master plan for the tourism sector. Pointing out that the National Tourism Council should become law urgently, Serif Yenen spoke to TDN about the problems in the tourism sector, solutions and their expectations from the government. 

TDN: What are your urgent demands and solutions for the tourism sector? 

YENEN: We demand that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government determine stable state politics for the tourism sector which is related to other sectors. A healthy stable coordination should be provided in the sector. A master plan should be prepared and tourism should be spread over the country all year. 

Tourism education mobilization should be started in the country. This should be spread through the media. For example, general tourism education can be broadcast at prime time at least 5-10 minutes a day. Tourism related areas should be included in this program. Not only the sector but also all people should adopt the fact that tourism contributes to the development of the country and makes everyone rich. 

Additionally, the National Tourism Council should become law urgently, Turkey's promotion should be coordinated by this council. Because of the fact that the parties in power did not follow a healthy and stable tourism policy, we couldn't take the results of high-budget foreign promotions. A coordinated promotion will make things easier for Turkish tourism growth. 

TDN: Is there a problem of quality in the sector? If there is, what should be done to increase quality? 

YENEN: Quality of travel agencies and guides should be increased. The number of travel agencies and guides, which increases day by day, lowers sector quality. Quality takes precedence in the tourism sector. Therefore, opening of new travel agencies should be stopped, new guides should not be trained. Prices, that have recently been reduced should be more expensive. To open a travel agency or tourism enterprise should be more difficult in order to increase quality. The letter of guarantee, which is presented to the state by the establishment, should be increased to $100-200,000. 

Quality and good service are just two points which tourists give importance. They don't prefer countries having pollution or bad infrastructure. Therefore tourists' safety should be provided, environment and infrastructure problems should be solved as soon as possible. 

Service should continue after the tourists have left our country. That means after-sales service principle of companies should be put into effect. This will contribute to Turkey's promotion. 

TDN: What should be done to dismiss the idea that Turkey is only a sea and sun holiday country? 

YENEN: The types of tourists that our country needs should be determined and encouraged. It is known that tourists, who go to holiday villages with "Everything's included", are not so much important for the sector. Since such packages are very cheap, the quality of tourists is low and they don't spend money. 

From the point of natural, cultural and historical conditions, Turkey is rich enough to obtain tourism income. Variety ranging from mountain climbing, rafting to underwater sports should be provided. This variety will increase tourism income and make Turkey a paradise of tourism. 

It is possible to see the traces of former civilizations everywhere in our country. Even Mardin, which hasn't become a destination yet, is about to be declared the third historic city in the world following Jerusalem and Venice. This rich inheritance should be evaluated, history and culture tourism should be revived. 

TDN: Does TUREB have vocational demands for tourist guides? 

YENEN: "Tourist Guides Organizations Law" should be introduced to gather tourist guides under the roof of an organization and to introduce tourist guidance as a job. 

Articles 10, 29 and 30 of the Travel Agencies and Travel Agencies Union Law No. 1618 and Articles 38, 39, 40 and 48 of the Tourist Guides Regulation should be put into effect as soon as possible. Otherwise, guide quality will be lower. Moreover, guides should be educated for four years in faculties provided by the Ministry of Tourism. 

On the other hand, guides are people who will reveal the tourist profile most truly. So, while determining general tourism policies and taking sectoral decisions, guides' views should be taken into consideration. 

TDN: What is the difference between Turkey and other countries in entrance fees to museums and ruins? 

YENEN: Entrance fees to ruins and museums, which are determined by the Culture Ministry Revolving Capital Administration (DOSIM), is above world standards. For example, the entrance fee to Hagia Sophia and Topkapi museums is $20, to Ephesus and Aspendos is $10. On the other hand, the entrance fee to the French Louvre Museum is $6, to the Italian Coliseum is $5 and to the Greek Athens Archaeology Museum is $6. Turkey's price policy sabotages cultural tourism. 

Almost 40-50 percent of tour prices, which agencies determine per person, are museum and ruins entrance fees. That's why museums and ruins are not included in tours in order to reduce tour prices. This causes tourists not to come to the country. As TUREB, we want museum entrance fees to be reduced to world standards. This will affect cultural tourism positively.