Following the implementation of necessary legal regulations, the Netherlands-based online reservation portal Booking.com and similar websites will resume operations in Turkey, Turkish Travel Agencies Association (TÜRSAB) Chairman, Firuz Bağlıkaya, said.
Speaking on CNN Türk, Bağlıkaya said Booking.com, which was closed for more than a year, would be reopened after meeting national legal requirements.
"We are working on ‘corporate membership' status for websites like Booking.com that make money by bringing together consumers and tourism professionals with headquarters located outside of Turkey," Bağlıkaya said. "With this status, we will be able to re-open services like Booking.com in our country. We have recently made a proposal to Booking.com officials."
Booking.com's activities in Turkey were halted on March 29, 2017, with a decision brought by an Istanbul court, after TÜRSAB filed a lawsuit against the leading online travel agency citing unfair competition in relation to Turkey's competition law.It is not possible to make a reservation within the country through Booking.com, while the website is still available for international reservations.
The ban had a negative effect on the business of numerous small hotels across Turkey; particularly in Anatolia, which relied solely on Booking.com rather than other tour operators and travel agencies.
As a result, Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TÜROFED), Turkey Hoteliers Association (TÜROB) and the Turkish Small Hotels Association requested that the ban on the company be lifted.
The Economy Ministry officials have met several times with Booking.com representatives and presented the conditions that would allow the website to resume operations in Turkey.