Tourism body to start legal action against 20 booking portals

The Turkish Travel Agencies Association (TÜRSAB) has decided to initiate a legal process against nearly 20 online travel and reservation portals.

The association said in a statement on Wednesday that it will take legal action against online portals, similar to Netherlands-based online reservation portal Booking.com, whose activities in Turkey were halted in March last year due to unfair competition in relation to the country’s competition law.

The list includes home rental giant Airbnb, travel booking site Expedia, online travel agent Agoda and British flight search app Skyscanner.

Booking.com’s activities in Turkey were halted on March 29, 2017, with the decision 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.

The website, which had around 13,000 hotel members from Turkey, halted selling rooms in Turkey to Turkish users on March 30, one day after the court decided to block the website in the country. The website can still be used from foreign countries to make reservations for Turkish hotels and from Turkey to make reservations abroad.

“TÜRSAB will launch legal action against 20 portals such as Airbnb, Agoda, Skyscanner and Expedia, which have been in unfair competition with Turkish travel agencies and tour operators by not paying any tax even though they earn income selling Turkish products and services to Turkish customers in the Turkish market,” the statement by the association read.