With the new regulation, being a guide without knowing foreign language is being legalized, while commission is banned. On the other hand, the power of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism over sectoral organizations are being increased.

Key points highlighted in the amendments to the law are as follows:

* License exams of guides will be conducted by Student Selection and Placement Center (ÖSYM). In languages not included in the ÖSYM exam schedule, exams may be conducted by specialized and impartial organizations in the respective field. Those who meet all admission requirements will be able to guide in the foreign language they have successfully passed the exam for upon the request of the Ministry.

* Legalization of Turkish guiding Those who meet the admission requirements of the profession but fail to meet the foreign language requirement will, upon successful completion of the admission exam, based on the practice trip they attended, be eligible to become regional or national Turkish tourist guides.

* There will be no requirement to complete a national or regional tourist guide training program in languages determined by taking into account the needs of the tourism sector, especially Chinese, and in designated regions where necessary. For these languages, it will be necessary to graduate from associate, undergraduate, or graduate programs in tourism guiding departments of universities.

* Graduates of art history and archaeology departments of universities will not be required to attend the tourist guiding training program. Provided they meet other conditions, these individuals can become regional or national tourist guides in the foreign language they successfully completed the 100-hour training and practice trips for.

* The fee for 'Turkish guiding' will not be less than 70% of the base guide fee and will be determined by the Ministry.

* School trips organized by institutions and organizations affiliated with the Ministry of National Education and accompanied by teachers for students will be exempt from the regulation.

* A fine ranging from 25,000 to 100,000 Turkish Lira will be imposed on those engaged in illegal guiding activities, taking into account the number of individuals served and the characteristics of the region.

* Engage in commission (receiving commission from that business in exchange for sending tourists to a certain business).

* Similarly, travel agencies are also prohibited taking commission from businesses like shopping centers, restaurants, bars, coffees… Agencies found engaging in commission will face a 5-year ban on travel agency operations or license revocation.

Ministry's guardianship over professional organizations

* The Ministry of Culture and Tourism will conduct mandatory inspections of the operations, transactions, activities, and accounts of professional organizations and their subsidiaries every three years through inspectors and controllers.

* Members and employees of professional organizations will be punished like public officials for actions and behaviors constituting a crime related to their duties.

* Employees of professional organizations for whom an investigation is initiated or who fail to fulfill their duties may be temporarily suspended by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism for a period of three months upon the recommendation of the Ministry's inspector. This period may be extended for another three months if deemed necessary, for once.

The influence of the Ministry over professional organizations has been increased

* Employees of professional organizations who have been temporarily suspended will return to their duties upon completion of inspections or upon a court decision that there is no need for prosecution. All payments withheld from these individuals during the suspension period will be paid by the professional organization they are affiliated with, along with legal interest.

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* In cases where there is an urgent need to ensure national security and public order, prevent the commission of a crime, or prevent the continuation of a crime, the Ministry may prohibit the organs of tourist guide chambers. The prohibition decision will be submitted to the competent judge for approval within 24 hours and the judge will announce his decision within 48 hours. In case of failure to announce, the administrative decision in question will automatically be invalidated. The Ministry may participate as a party in lawsuits filed within the scope of this article.

* Guides who exchange their guide identity card for a permit will be required to provide a document that shows their proficiency in the foreign language. Otherwise, they will continue their profession as 'Turkish guides'.

* On the other hand, Article 11, which eliminates the obligation to have guides on tour buses, has been removed from the proposal.

Editor: Haber Merkezi