Tourism is a key sector for the Turkish economy – Narin Tourism is a key sector for the Turkish economy – Narin

The TÜRSAB Law newly prepared by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism continues to be debated in the tourism sector. Stating that it is correct to update the law to keep up with the current tourism conditions, Prontotour General Manager Hakan Öksel provided explanations on issues related to guiding included in the Law to TTN. Pointing out that tourist guiding is one of the most important links of tourism, Öksel said, “It is impossible to imagine the country's tourism without tourist guides. It cannot and should not be possible to devalue this profession. As licensed guides, both our Chairman of the Board, Ali Onaran, and I are aware of this, and our guides are among the most valued elements of our company; we could not be prouder of them.”

Hakan Öksel, emphasizing that tourist guides must be able to speak at least one language well, stated, “The practice of 'Turkish Guiding' could only be a temporary phase for the transition to licensed guiding. This right should be granted within a time frame determined by the decision of the competent authorities, only to those who have graduated from guiding departments, completed country tours, and succeeded in the examination. With this application, I believe that both the employment need can be met and those who do Turkish Guiding can set goals for their professional development.”

“The problem is not just tourism-related”

Öksel noted that everyone desires the Travel Agencies Association Law to be adapted to today's conditions: “The Turkish Guiding part that has come up here is not actually a new debate. But since the law has binding aspects, it needs to be analyzed well. We are aware of how valuable guides are for the country's tourism. There are rightful aspects for both lawmakers and professional guiding unions regarding the Turkish Guiding issue. I think a permanent solution can be presented by correctly identifying the situation. First of all, I should mention that young people who have received higher education in tourism should be able to stay in the sector, and employment conditions should be improved. It is a fact that the working areas and conditions for graduates are limited. Unfortunately, the number of people remaining in tourism is decreasing day by day. How students of guiding and tourism can graduate without mastering a language should be questioned. The adequacies of these schools and departments should be investigated, and the number of students should be determined considering the needs of the sector. Automatically, this discussion will be eliminated if the department students can speak at least one foreign language proficiently when they graduate. We have problems like education and infrastructure from the past. Therefore, our institutions in education, politics, bureaucracy, and academia have a big role to play. These respected institutions can sign great works in dialogue.”

“Experience could be a criterion when setting the base daily wage”

Stating that there are many guides who have devoted themselves to the profession of tourist guiding, developed themselves in language and field knowledge, and have impeccable field knowledge, Prontotour General Manager Hakan Öksel said, “These efforts are of great importance in gaining respect for the profession. I understand the cautious stance of my colleagues who have received their badges and dedicated their lives to this work regarding Turkish Guiding. On the other hand, it is also sad that our young people who have received guide training, participated in field trips, and passed the science exam cannot practice this profession due to the language barrier. With the opportunity of Turkish Guiding, setting a period like 3 years, on one hand, allows them to gain experience in the profession, and on the other hand, provides an opportunity to improve their language and field knowledge. After completing 3 years and succeeding in the exams, those who want to continue in this profession can proceed as licensed tourist guides. In other words, Turkish Guiding can be practiced in a time-limited manner. For our young people who have graduated and are facing employment issues due to the language barrier, we can see this as a gain. On the other hand, when setting base daily wages, it should be another topic to consider that a new graduate with limited experience and a colleague who has been practicing this profession for over ten years are evaluated with the same daily wage.”

Öksel, who stated that the issue of guides being confined to museums and archaeological sites needs to be evaluated broadly, said, “Guides are the leaders of the tour conducted in the vehicle and must be present in the vehicle except in exceptional cases. Tour-transfer points, day nature-picnic tours, etc., situations can be diversified and limits can be determined. Let's not forget that our guides play a very important role in the perception of quality in tourism. We are lucky that our Ministry of Culture and Tourism is also following the issue sensitively. I hope these issues can be resolved in a way that satisfies all parties.”

Editor: Haber Merkezi