Checking a Turkish Travel Agency

You’ve heard about a certain Turkish travel agency, or you’ve seen an offer for their services, or one of their tours, on the Internet.

How do you know if they’re any good or not, or whether you’re going to be cheated?

Turkey has nearly 4500 travel agencies and tour operators. Most do their best to provide good service and value to foreign visitors. They know that good service and fair prices are the foundations on which to build a good business.

But every country has crooks and cheats, of course.The first thing to do is determine if the travel agency is in fact a legitimate, registered travel agency or tour operator with the proper legal standing and consumer protections.

By law, every Turkish travel agency and tour operator must be a member of TÜRSAB (Türkiye Seyahat Agentaları Birliği, Association of Turkish Travel Agencies).

Every TÜRSAB member has a distinct TÜRSABregistration number. Most travel agencies and tour operators publicize their number on their publicity, marketing and advertising materials. If you don’t see it, ask the company for their TÜRSAB number.

The TURSAB website has a search feature for member agencies. Fill in the name of the agency (or part of the name), or their Agency ID (TURSAB License number/Belge No.), click on Search, and you should get a list of the member agencies with that name, their offices addresses and other contact information.

Also, the official Turkish Ministry of Tourism websitehas listings of foreign tour operators who send tours to Turkey.

Here’s my short list of travel agencies and tour companies that I know personally and can recommend.

If the agecy or tour operator you plan to use is on either of these lists, you’ll have a better chance of a good trip to Turkey.

What do you do if something goes wrong? Here’s how to file a complaint.

—Tom Brosnahan


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