All over the world and in every niche of business, there are two types of people, namely the cowboys and the experts. Upon first glance, it is hard to spot the difference, but cowboys cut corners to make money while experts want to be professionals in their chosen career.

Within the travel industry of Turkey, sadly, illegal tour operators who are just concerned about profit and pay no attention to value or customer satisfaction are still operating in most holiday resorts. Despite efforts by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to get rid of them, they masquerade as professional travel agencies, and unfortunately, bring a bad name to the tourism industry.

Even more alarmingly is that by cutting corners on standards and regulations, they place the customer’s safety, and comfort at risk. However, how can anyone who wants to buy tours, transfers, or hotels in Turkey spot the illegal tour operators from the experts? How can potential customers know if they are buying from someone who adheres to the law? It is easy to find out.


How to know if a Tour Operator in Turkey is Registered and Legal

All tour, flight ticket offices, and transfer providers in Turkey legally have to belong to TURSAB that is the Turkish Association of Travel Agencies. TURSAB defines their mission as…


“The Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TURSAB) is a professional organisation having the status of legal person, established by Law in 1972. The main aims of the Association are the development of the travel agency profession in harmony with the country’s economy and tourism sector, and protection of professional ethics and solidarity.”

When an application to join TURSAB is approved, and agencies start selling, they make their membership ID freely available to everyone. Therefore, in the case of a website, the contact page or footer bar lists it or in an office, the owner of the firm presents certificates on the wall, so they are publically visible. Many legal travel agencies also include the number on cards, letterheads, receipts and in emails.

TUSAB publically displays their membership list on their website that is also available in English. You can search from the home page or press the menu bar at the top that says “Travel Agencies.” From there, check an agency ID; search through cities and regions or by using the name of the organisation.


However, maybe you have found a tour operators in Turkey who is not TURSAB registered and are still tempted to book with them because their prices are lower than everyone else is. Here is why you shouldn’t.

Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Illegal Tour Operators in Turkey


1: TURSAB has built a database of professional tour operators that only offer top quality service to visitors to Turkey. They judge members by a set and defined list of standards that must be given to paying customers.

So for example, if you have booked a seven-day group whirlwind tour of Turkey, the travel agency must use transport with full MOT, working air conditioning and a clear audio system for communication. Illegal tour operators often break these rules and offer sub-standard service to make more money. Even worse is that if you complain; the company doesn’t have to resolve your complaint because they are not held accountable by any regulation board.

2: TURSAB also wants to protect customers if a company goes bankrupt, therefore making it easier for the client to retrieve the full cost of their purchase. So all TURSAB registered agents, whether they are selling tour packages direct or via third parties must have liability insurance. Likewise, the agency must have public liability insurance in case of accidents or personal bodily injury while on a tour or transfer. No-one is checking to make sure the illegal tour operators have these insurance policies.

3: Tours in Turkey legally have to be guided so that the day runs smoothly and problems are dealt with swiftly. Also in cases like Ephesus, Pamukkale, and Istanbul, the guide’s job is to provide customers with detailed information about places and landmarks to enhance the client’s visit. To do this, guides must be knowledgeable and present accurate information, so they undergo months of studying. They then sit exams to receive qualifications from The Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

TURSAB registered companies’ only employ official and legal guides. Illegal tour operators cut costs by hiring unqualified guides with no training or knowledge of the service they are providing. They often pay them less than the minimum wage with no insurance, and this affects the quality of people’s holidays in Turkey.

Therefore, while it is tempting to book with an illegal agency to save money, remember the old saying of “you don’t get something for nothing.”

TURSAB Details for Ada Vegas Travel

At Ada Vegas Travel, we are proud to be a full member of TURSAB. Our certificates of registration are displayed on the wall of our Kusadasi office and freely available to everyone. We follow the guidelines and regulations to give our customers the best service we can. Our TURSAB details are as follows.




TELEPHONE: +90 256 614 62 22


Read more stories about Turkey, the places, culture, tradition and what to do on our Turkey Travel blog here.