Do you know that for “guiding” without a license in Turkey you can receive a serious penalty and even get behind bars? As well as travel agencies that are organizing tours without licensed guides can be punished with severe fines and cancellation of their agency license. Let me tell you about Being a Licensed Tour Guide in Turkey.
Why so much trouble? Because it is not easy to become a guide in Turkey! You have to study guiding in university, then pass a serious exam on at least one foreign language, then take an educational tour in at least one of the “guiding zones” that Turkey is divided into. Therefore on every license, you can see where exactly in Turkey its owner can guide and use which language.
Tour guides in Turkey are working for the Ministry of culture and tourism, and guides’ rights are protected by TUREB (Turist Rehberleri Birliği) – tourist guides union. Every guide is a member of one of the 13 local guide unions, the biggest one being İRO – İstanbul Rehber Odası, which has 4936 members. In total there are 11.726 licensed guides in Turkey, 3885 of them being women and 7841 being men. There are 7546 guides who can work with the English language.
Training periods for many professions are very similar around the world. However, this situation is quite different when it comes to tourist guide education. Because the tourist guide profile a country needs vary according to the geography, history, culture, tourism values , and tourism policies of the country. In countries like Turkey which is very rich in history, tourist guide training is quite long and detailed. Guiding is one of the oldest activities of humanity. According to the definition of the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations ” WFTGA ”, the tourist guide is who guides the historical places and conveys them to the visitors with an entertaining interpretation. The guide serves the group or individual visitors around monuments, museums, natural and cultural environments in a region or city in their preferred language. ”.
For those who want to be a tourist guide, it is important to be a clean and well-groomed person who pays attention to his appearance. A guide should speak a foreign language very well and a tour guide must like to meet new people. Being respectful, kind, reliable, and smiling are some main virtues of the tour guide.
In order to become a tour guide in Turkey, it is necessary to study in the Tourism / Tourist Guidance Program of universities. You should enter a foreign language exam and get at least eighty points out of one hundred. After you have done all of it you should participate in training tours organized by the TUREB ‘’ Turkish Tour Guides Association’’. Following all of this, you will be qualified to receive the ‘’Professional Tour Guide License of the Turkish Tourism Ministry’’.
Tour guiding certificate program consists of a 700-hours course including:
- The history and geography of Turkey
- General Turkish history and culture
- Turkish language and literature
- Art History
- The history of religions
- General health information, first aid, health tourism, and tourist health
- Communication skills
- Anatolian civilizations history
- Turkish folklore and traditional Turkish handicrafts
- Turkey’s flora and fauna, natural history
- Tourism sociology
Touring with a Turkish licensed tour guide is a great experience considering the intense and high-quality training that a tour guide receives in Turkey. I hope one day I or one of my beloved colleagues will be your tour guide in Turkey. Contact me to hire a professional licensed Turkish tour guide in Turkey. See you soon, Hasan Gülday.