TÜRSAB’s statement included the following remarks:

"As the umbrella organization of travel agencies, which are one of the most important elements of the tourism sector, and as a professional association with the status of a public institution, the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB) represents approximately 15,000 members who contribute significantly to the national economy and tourism at both domestic and international levels for over 50 years.

Our travel agencies offer Türkiye's historical, cultural, and natural beauties as a tourism product to foreign guests. In addition, they meticulously plan and present domestic holidays, travels, international fairs, congress organizations, and business trips to both local and foreign tourists within the scope of tour and package tours.

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Visa services and legal framework

In particular, for Turkish citizens traveling abroad, our members provide visa services for the necessary Schengen visas within the scope of the ‘Regulation on Travel Agencies’ based on the Travel Agencies and Travel Agencies Union Law No. 1618. Article 5, titled 'Services of Travel Agencies,' states that 'Travel agencies can provide information on foreign exchange, visa, customs transactions related to tourism, and perform visa transactions.'

While providing these services in our country, the pressures faced by our members, along with the injustices in the appointments of visa intermediary institutions, are among the most frequently reported complaints. A prominent example of this is the decision by the Greek Consulate in İzmir and the Greek visa intermediary institution to stop travel agencies in the Aegean region, who were previously accredited, from providing visa application services on behalf of their clients about three months ago. This decision has seriously harmed and continues to harm the tourism of both countries, despite the longstanding friendly relations between the two neighboring countries, especially in terms of the development of tourism with the islands in the Aegean region.

Social media defamation

Moreover, in recent times, some social media posts by visa intermediary institutions have severely discredited our travel agencies and personnel, creating a negative image among consumers.

Travel agencies provide visa services based on the rights and authorities arising from Law No. 1618. We remind that application centers must avoid creating the impression that our members, who act in accordance with the travel agency legislation, professional principles, and legal provisions, are offering these services without authorization. We stress the legal necessity of cooperating with travel agencies for the development of national tourism and resolving the problems faced by our citizens in their travels abroad. We also emphasize that we will take all necessary measures against initiatives aimed at excluding travel agencies from visa applications and any illegal activities in this regard.

We present this information with respect."

Editor: Haber Merkezi