Tour operators offer discounts to visa, special passport holders

Tour operators offer discounts to visa, special passport holders

Tour operators offer discounts to visa, special passport holders

Some tour operators in Istanbul and İzmir have started offering special discounts to Turkish travelers with a special passport and a valid visa, as Schengen visa-related problems hurt their businesses.

The rejection rate for Schengen visa applications by Turkish citizens almost doubled compared with 2019, which prompted tour operators to seek ways to overcome this problem by offering special promotions and discounts.

People, who want to travel abroad for vacation, may have to wait months for their visa application to be processed. But there is no guarantee that they will eventually get a visa.

The high visa application rejection rate is a big problem for tour operators. They reschedule the planned tours, but when their customers’ visa applications are turned down, tour operators have to organize the trips with fewer travelers, which cost them money.

In order to overcome this problem, some tour operators are now offering special discounts to potential holidaymakers who have valid visa and a green passport. The green passports enable its holders to enter a number of countries without a visa.

Companies are resorting to those alternatives to boost their sales, explains Hamit Kuk, an adviser to the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB).

Operators need to have a certain number of people on the trips they organize to lower costs, he said.

“Let’s say, an operator plans a tour for 50 people and makes visa applications on behalf of their customers. If the visa applications of 30 of them are rejected, the tour operator will suffer financial losses. In such cases, the tour operator refers those remaining 20 travelers to another tour operator.”

Kuk also said that the Banking Regulation and Supervision Authority's (BDDK) recent decision to curb the use of credit cards for foreign travel will affect the sector.

Some 30 percent to 40 percent of those who travel abroad make their payments with credit cards in installments, he added.