ISTANBUL: The Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB), which has paved the way for blocking Booking.com in Turkey, has decided to take legal action against 20 other online reservation and travel portals.
“TÜRSAB will launch legal action against nearly 20 websites such as Airbnb, Agoda, Skyscanner and Expedia, which have been in unfair competition with the Turkish travel agencies and tour operators by not paying any tax although they earn income selling Turkish product and services to Turkish customers in the Turkish market,” Turkey’s leading tourism association said in its statement on Aug. 8.
The Booking.com website and app, headquartered in Holland, has been suspended in Turkey since March 29, 2017 by a court ruling citing accusations of unfair competition in the lawsuit filed by the TÜRSAB.
On March 30, Booking.com began to halt selling rooms in Turkey to Turkish users, obeying the order to block the website. However, the website and application can be used from foreign countries to make reservations for hotels in Turkey.
“As an e-commerce and technology company, we are convinced that we contribute to healthy competition in the market by offering Turkish consumers a transparent and easy platform to compare and book accommodation all over the world,” the company said, as quoted by the Associated Press on March 29, 2017.
TÜRSAB chair Firuz Bağlıkaya has recently said Booking.com may operate in Turkey following the necessary legal proceedings.
“We have been working on a model of ‘corporate subscription’ for companies like Booking.com, which are headquartered abroad but bring consumers and tourism firms together. After we implement that status, services such as Booking.com will start operating in the country again,” he said on July 9.__Hurriyet