5 reasons to use a licensed Turkish travel agent & how to check if yours is legit

There are lots of different ways to plan your trip to Turkey. Your favorite way of planning is most probably the result of how you like to spend your holiday. Some book a package holiday with every detail pre-arranged. Others – more independent travelers – tackle things in a slightly different way, making all the arrangements themselves or by using the assistant of a Turkish travel agent. We’re all for using the knowledge and expertise of a local agent. After all, who knows Turkey better than those living here?

But how do you know if the Turkish travel agent you’re currently talking to is legit? How to find out if the agent is registered and has an official license? And why does that even matter, apart from the fact that you want to avoid being scammed? In this article, we’ll show you how to check the license of your Turkish travel agent (and also those of Turkish tourist guides), and we’ll give you 5 good reasons only to work with licensed agents.

Tour Turkey With A Licensed Turkish Travel Agent

Tour Turkey With A Licensed Turkish Travel Agent

How to check a Turkish travel agent

Checking a Turkish travel agent is dead simple if you know where to look. In Turkey, like in many other countries, there is an official organization that regulates and oversees the professional ethics of the travel agencies: TÜRSAB. And because they value transparency, they have a convenient search tool on their website that allows you to quickly check if the Turkish travel agent you would like to work with has an official license.

How to check your Turkish travel agent in 3 easy steps:

TIP: if you want to perform multiple searches, make sure to use the CLEAR button between each search.

How To Check If You Turkish Travel Agent Is Legit?

How To Check If You Turkish Travel Agent Is Legit?

5 good reasons only to use a licensed agent

Why is working with a licensed travel agent important? After all, Turkey is Turkey, right? The ancient sites you’ll visit won’t look any different when using the services of a licensed agent or guide. Your hotel will be the same, and you’ll use the same bus or plane as you would do when booking with any other agent. Then why is it important – or maybe even imperative – that you only work with licensed agents? What if they are more expensive? Isn’t budget a major factor? Of course, it is! But so is being legal, and – more importantly – being safe and insured. That’s why these 5 reasons matter:

  1. INSURANCE: TÜRSAB is so much more than a quality label. Working with a registered TÜRSAB agent is your only guarantee that when things should unexpectedly go sour, you will be insured. What does this protection mean? All Turkish travel agents that are TÜRSAB members must have liability insurance. This ensures that if a company goes bankrupt, you will be able to retrieve the full cost of your purchase. Also, this liability insurance protects you in case of accidents or personal body injuries during your tour.
  2. SETTING THE STANDARD: TÜRSAB wants travelers to experience Turkey at its best. This means that they have drafted a set of quality standard rules for their members to follow. How does this benefit you? Let’s say that you’ll be using a transfer service or that you have planned a trip with a private driver. Booking with a TÜRSAB member not only offers you the previously mentioned insurance, but it also guarantees that the vehicle used meets the necessary safety and comfort standards. You will obviously want to avoid being driven around in a van that failed its last MOT test, or that has a defective air conditioning, just to give you an example.
  3. ACCOUNTABILITY: Should you still have a complaint, you have the certainty that it will be dealt with. TÜRSAB members are held accountable for their actions, their service level, and for resolving complaints if and when they occur.
  4. ETHICAL ASPECT: Supporting officially registered agents equals supporting officially employed employees. We too like a good old cowboy movie from time to time, but when it comes to entrusting people with arranging your trip to Turkey, we prefer to do things the legal way instead of relying on the ‘cowboys of the industry’ who are cutting corners, including not officially employing people and making them work uninsured and under the minimum wage. For your own safety, and for a clean conscience it pays off to use the official channels.
  5. LEGAL ASPECT: There’s something reassuring about knowing that things are done within the law. Please note that by law, tours in Turkey must be accompanied by a guide. And, just like travel agents, guides must have the right qualifications to be certified and recognized by the Ministery of Tourism. Evidently, licensed agents only work with licensed guides. Read on to find out how to check if a guide is licensed, should you plan on booking one directly.

Still worried about your safety or other risks? Read ‘Why Turkey is not a safe country to travel

Türsab & Tureb Are The Right Choice

Türsab & Tureb Are The Right Choices

How to check a Turkish tourist guide

Checking a Turkish tourist guide is almost as easy as checking a Turkish travel agent. Except, the search engine on the TUREB website ( the website for the tourist guides association) doesn’t have the option to use a license number. That’s why we want to add this important remark: you can only verify a tourist guide by using their name and surname. The system only recognizes an exact spelling, which may prove to be a problem when dealing with the Turkish alphabet. If you intend on searching this database, make sure to inform your guide and ask them to write down the exact way their name is registered. After that, a simple copy/paste should do the trick.

How to check your Turkish tourist guide in 3 easy steps:

Why should you use a licensed guide instead of a self-proclaimed one? Licensed guides have extensive knowledge of the history and culture, and can tell you all about mythology or traditions associated with the places you visit. Not only do they speak your language fluently and are they passionate about giving you an unforgettable experience, but they have also proven by passing exams that they are qualified experts in their field.

Discover Turkey With A Licensed Tourist Guide

Discover Turkey With A Licensed Tourist Guide

Final thoughts

Why did we make this article? Is it because you shouldn’t trust anyone? Not at all. But it is always good to protect yourself against bad intentions and to take matters and responsibilities into your own hands. These two official database search tools allow you to do just that. This post isn’t meant to alarm you, but to reassure you that you are working with professionals.

Do you want first-hand recommendations for a Turkish travel agent or a tourist guide? We run a Facebook group where people can ask their questions or look for tips about traveling to Turkey. The topic of picking a registered Turkish travel agent is something we need to remind people of regularly, so making a dedicated post about it made sense.

You’ll find more practical Turkey travel tips in a dedicated section on our website. Or use the links below to get access to some of our most consulted practical tips right away:

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This page contains the current weather and weather statistics for all regions in Turkey.

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Are you unsure about a destination, activity or hotel? Why don’t you ask other travelers about their experience?

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Check the weather

Never wonder about the weather in Turkey again. The Turkish climate is as diverse as the country with significant differences between the regions.

This page contains the current weather and weather statistics for all regions in Turkey.

Prepare your trip

How to order a tourist visa for Turkey?

What about public transport?
Can you skip the line at Istanbul Airports?

General Turkey travel information, essential to help prepare your trip, on one page!

Work with us

Get direct access to your target audience with a proven interest in Turkey. People call us their Turkey Bible!

Contact us for a feature on our map, a destination guide, a photo shoot, or any form of professional Turkey-related content.

Ask a traveler

Are you unsure about a destination, activity or hotel? Why don’t you ask other travelers about their experience?

We have a closed Facebook group where you can ask all Turkey-related questions. You’ll get solid advice and travel inspiration.

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5 reasons to use a licensed Turkish travel agent & how to check if yours is legit