On August 11, 2023, the Board of Directors of the Istanbul Association of Travel Agencies Promotion and Development (İSATAG) met with the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mehmet Nuri Ersoy. The meeting took place at the working office of the Atatürk Cultural Center (AKM) in Istanbul, where current issues in the sector were discussed.

Özsavaş: We're Losing Momentum in Culture and Faith Tourism

During the meeting, İSATAG President Aylin Özsavaş addressed the current issues in the sector. She pointed out that there has been a decline in cultural and religious tourism, particularly in tours coming from abroad to Türkiye. She emphasized the need for support for medium-sized agencies to solve this issue. Özsavaş mentioned that small travel agencies struggle to participate in international fairs and set up booths, and requested Ersoy's support in this matter.

Özsavaş also highlighted the importance of improving relations between the Türkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA) and travel agencies. She requested Ersoy's support in this regard.

Regarding the frequent and unscheduled increases in museum and historical site entrance fees, which make it difficult for cultural tourism-oriented travel agencies to plan their costs effectively, Ersoy stated that they are actively working on resolving this issue.

New Regulations for Tours and Transfers

Ersoy also discussed the challenges faced by travel agencies in terms of tours and transfers. He announced that regulations would be introduced allowing agencies to use their own assistants and transfer personnel for tour and transfer services.

Increasing the Number of Guides

Ersoy also informed the delegation about efforts to address the shortage of guides in the industry, stating that the ministry is involved in training numerous new guides to address this issue.

Demir: Closer Collaboration Between the TV and Tourism Industries

İSATAG Vice President Cüneyt Tansu Demir discussed the role of Turkish TV series in promoting tourism. He highlighted how Turkish TV series have attracted foreign tourists to Istanbul and other locations such as Cappadocia, and suggested supporting projects that create synergy between the TV and tourism industries.

Kartın Presents Issues of Outgoing Agencies

Ömer Kartın, the General Secretary of the association, raised concerns about outgoing travel agencies. He mentioned the discontinuation of the installment payment option for credit cards during international travels and the challenges related to visas.

Ersoy assured that visa difficulties would be resolved as soon as possible. Regarding the installment payment issue, Ersoy explained that recent orthodox economic policies had led to this situation and that long-term installments created inflationary effects. He also mentioned that Mediterranean countries do not offer installment options.

The meeting was attended by İSATAG President Aylin Kopan Özsavaş, Vice President Cüneyt Tansu Demir, General Secretary Ömer Kartın, and Board Members Kamran Bagiyev, Neşe Çevik, Yüksel Türemez, and Emrah Demir.

Editor: Savaş Daş