Experts: Booking.com exempt from licence in Turkey

Court case ruling involves the online booking agent and the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies

Travel, Tourism, Booking.com, Istanbul, Online travel agents, Turkey hotels

The Hurriyet Daily News in Turkey has reported that experts have said that Booking.com is exempt from having a travel agency licence.

A group of experts involved in a court case between the online agent and the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB) have said in a 63-page report presented to an Istanbul court that there is no need for Booking.com to have a travel agency licence to operate in Turkey.

According to the online portal, the experts said the reason for the exemption is that booking.com does not operate as one but acts as a ‘middleman’.

The daily news report mentioned that the 63-page report did suggest that the online agent should pay tax as it generates revenues from its Turkey operations, quoting the report as saying: “Booking.com is paid a commission for the hotel reservations, thus it is liable to pay tax.”

Reportedly, booking.com’s lawyer has made demands that “the decision to suspend the company’s activities be lifted.”

The report went on to say that the Booking.com website and app have been “suspended in Turkey since March 29, 2017 by a court ruling citing accusations of unfair competition in the lawsuit filed by TÜRSAB.”

The next court hearing is reportedly scheduled for April 12, 2019.

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