At the "Travel Agencies Meeting" held at the İstanbul Lütfi Kırdar Congress Center, TÜRSAB opposed the draft law that will replace the Travel Agencies Law No. 1618, proposed by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, which includes the division of the Union.

TÜRSAB's Board Chairman Firuz Bağlıkaya, Vice Presidents Davut Günaydın and Hasan Eker, Board Members, Regional Representative Council, and Specialty Chairpersons, along with former TÜRSAB Presidents, were present at the meeting attended by approximately 2,000 travel agency representatives and members of the press.

Yasa"Without travel agencies, there is no tourism"

Highlighting the contribution of travel agencies to the tourism sector, TÜRSAB President Firuz Bağlıkaya said, "The existence of the tourism sector is maintained by travel agencies. We are the ones who find, bring, and tour the tourists. Everything known as a success in tourism is because of us. Those who ignore the reality that 'without travel agencies, there is no tourism,' should look at the history of tourism in Türkiye and they will see that everything started with the efforts of travel agencies. There were travel agencies 20 years before the Ministry of Tourism was established, and they will exist as long as tourism does."

Bağlıkaya spoke about how TÜRSAB was founded in 1972, "With the knowledge, courage, excitement, and efforts of our elders who founded travel agencies from the 1930s, tourism in Türkiye came into existence, grew, and developed. They all came together in 1972 to establish TÜRSAB. The Turkish Travel Agencies Association is the 51-year-old pride of the 100-year-old Republic of Türkiye. If the tourism sector is seen as the savior of Türkiye's future today, it is the result of 51 years of work by travel agencies, tour operators, and their union, TÜRSAB."

Tursab Yasa

Bağlıkaya expressed belief that the mistake of the draft law would be recognized by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, "Nothing is over yet. We know there are statesmen in our country, starting with our President, who will say that what is being attempted is wrong. We are aware of the President's support and sensitivity to the sector and believe he will see the mistake. TÜRSAB is an organization that works in harmony with the government, in line with the vision of our President, and also in line with the goals of the Türkiye Century. We trust our statesmen and our parliament to correct these mistakes."

Bağlıkaya shared details and important articles of the new draft law, which is planned to replace Law No. 1618 by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, with the travel agencies attending the meeting, stating that if the new law passes, it will greatly harm travel agencies and the tourism sector.

Bağlıkaya: Ignoring agencies is ignoring tourism Bağlıkaya: Ignoring agencies is ignoring tourism

"If every head makes a sound, will anyone listen to it?"

Bağlıkaya pointed out that the draft law, which has been changed several times since last November and presented to other ministries for consultation, includes many articles ranging from the closure of TÜRSAB to the removal of travel agencies from being professional commercial enterprises:

Thanks to the objections of unconstitutionality by other ministries, they gave up on this draft law. What they couldn't give up on is dividing TÜRSAB, paving the way for travel agencies with big capital, and their desire to eliminate those trying to survive on their own. These articles are exactly the same in all four drafts we have. How can such a divided structure be taken seriously, whether it's called a union or not? International organizations? The levels of the state? If there's a different voice from every head, will anyone listen to it?

Tursab-1"Negatively affects Turkish tourism"

Dividing travel agencies according to their field of activity is like dividing chambers of commerce according to types of commercial activities. Dividing TOBB, eliminating TESK, is the same as dividing TÜRSAB, yielding the same result. As these are not considered, dividing TÜRSAB cannot be considered either. Remember, TÜRSAB is a union. That is, there are elected BTK's forming the Union. There are separate specialty presidencies for every branch like Health, Hajj-Umrah, MICE. While it is possible to regulate these by law, dividing the Union is incomprehensible. Dividing travel agencies into small unions will also eliminate the power of professional solidarity. If professional solidarity disappears, it will be replaced by conflicts among 'Unions.' This will negatively affect Turkish tourism.

One of the important outcomes the Minister aims to achieve with this draft law is to separate the big ones under the name of tour operators from the others due to their capital strength. The draft states that travel agencies with an annual turnover exceeding 250 million lira will be members of the Tour Operators Union. It separates the big ones from the others. However, strangely, no obligations, such as insurance, guarantee, qualified personnel, are imposed on 'the big ones.' They pay the same dues, provide the same guarantees, and operate under the same conditions, but just because their turnover is high, they are called tour operators. Tour operators are given the right to establish their own branch-franchise agency network for free. If this draft passes as it is, travel agencies operating as franchises, signboard agencies will disappear. We will not allow this.

Editor: Haber Merkezi