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Tourist Guides Association and Tourist Guide Professional Law Amendments


Tourist Guides Association and Tourist Guide Professional Law Amendments

Hakan Eğinlioğlu, Chairman of the Board of Tourist Guides Association (TUREB): Changes Made in the Guiding Profession

Hakan Eğinlioğlu, Chairman of the Board of Tourist Guides Association (TUREB): We currently have more than 13 thousand licensed guide colleagues. Their mother tongue is already Turkish. The goal here is to run the guide cheaply. Hakan Eğinlioğlu: Purpose Guide The draft of the “Proposal Law on Amending the Tourist Guide Profession Law and the Law on Travel Agencies and the Association of Travel Agencies” was submitted to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey on February 9, with the signature of AK Party deputies. The bill, which includes articles such as guidance in Turkish and assignment of guides only to museums and historical sites, was met with reaction by the guides. Guides and industry representatives state that this new bill, which closely concerns tourist guiding education, was created without taking suggestions from the industry. According to the news written by Mehmet Hanifi Gülel in Dünya Newspaper; Tourist guides who reacted to the offer are meeting in Ankara today.


Difficulties in Finding an On-Site Guide and the Realities of Guidance in Turkey

Changes and Reactions Made in the Guidance Profession


Noting that one of the biggest wishes of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is to change some articles in TÜRSAB and the Tourist Guide Profession Law, Hakan Eğinlioğlu, Chairman of the Board of Tourist Guides Association (TUREB), said that it is argued that tourism will be better with this change. Eğinlioğlu stated that discussions regarding the guidance law started with the TUREB management, which was in the previous period during the pandemic period, and said, “These were not fully announced by our management at that time. After the election, they brought to the agenda the articles related to this guidance law they had prepared. In our meetings, they told us that we want these to change. They listed six items. We asked if you had a draft, they said no draft. They did not feel the need to ask us about this draft sent to the Parliament. The Ministry would always ask when there was a situation regarding us. This is what they told us: “We have already agreed with the previous administration, there is continuity.” We said, “It is not right to accept something that we have not seen and do not know what has been approved.” “We objected to all the topics they opened up to us and listed the reasons for our objections,” he said. Noting that one of the items they object to is the removal of the language requirement for licensed guidance, which will leave most of the guides unemployed, Eğinlioğlu said, “They are doing this in the name of Turkish Guidance. We currently have more than 13 thousand licensed guide colleagues. The native and official language of our 13 thousand colleagues is Turkish. The goal here is to run the guide cheaply. The Turkish guide will give 70 percent of the fee to those who will appear with Turkish groups. “So they will work 30 percent cheaper,” he said.


Eğinlioğlu stated that a foreigner who has a residence permit in Turkey and has a document for this purpose, such as a German or a Syrian, can also show tourists around and said, “Will such people tell about Turkey’s history, culture, religion and traditions? Are you going to leave it to these types of people who do not know what they are trained in? This is extremely dangerous. It would be a blow for Turkey’s promotion and survival. Tourist groups can often include journalists, members of parliament, foreign members of parliament, and even spies. We have colleagues who have the ability to change the minds of many people who come to Turkey with prejudices. If they’re going to take us out and put in these types of people, it’s dangerous. Lawmakers, let them sit and talk with us. If they want to fix things with us, decisions on vital issues should not be made in this way. “Not being able to properly promote Turkey is a worse thing,” he said.


Istanbul Guides Chamber (IRO) President Özgür Özaltun Istanbul Guides Chamber President Hüseyin Özgür Özaltun stated that, first of all, the obligation to know a foreign language among the admission conditions for the profession has been removed and that this is aimed at degrading the profession. Stating that a very important condition among the profession acceptance conditions will be removed, Özaltun said, “As professional organizations, we are disturbed by this. In other words, knowing a foreign language, which is one of the acceptance conditions for the profession, puts the profession in a different lane. Guidance is a profession that is mostly done with foreigners. It is said that with the new regulation, they entered the profession to guide local groups. But our antithesis is this; Nearly 14 thousand tourist guides already speak Turkish. There is also an article in the regulation that states that we can provide guidance in Turkish, unless the group speaks Turkish and requests it. Apart from that, we are against removing the obligation to have a guide on the bus during cultural tours. On cultural tours, we do most of our work on the bus. Now they are trying to take the guide off the bus. We are against the removal of the guide requirement in cultural tours. They also try to take a foreign language proficiency exam every five years. “It’s like taking back vested rights,” he said.

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Tourism and Turkish Guidance Changes


Prontotour General Manager Hakan Öksel stated that the law should keep up with the current tourism conditions and therefore it is correct to update it. Prontotour General Manager Hakan Öksel pointed out that tourist guidance in the law is one of the most important links of tourism. Öksel said, “Tourism in the country is unthinkable without tourist guides. It is impossible and should not be possible to devalue this profession in any way. As for Turkish guidance, there should only be an interim period for a certain period of time for the transition to licensed guidance. This right should only be granted to those who have completed their guidance studies, completed their country tours and passed the exam within a period determined by the decision of the authorized institutions. “I think that with this application, both the employment needs can be met and Turkish Guidance professionals can be given the opportunity to develop in their profession by setting a target,” he said. Hakan Eğinlioğlu: Purpose Guide


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