Istanbul Airport to charge €4 fee for welcoming lounge after placard ban

Turkish authorities set a 4 euro fee for Istanbul Airport’s “Welcoming Lounge,” a new designated greeting area following a ban on awaiting passengers at arrivals gates using placards, Duvar news site reported. 

The new lounge can be used for free until the end of March, but individuals and companies will have to pay a fee for each passenger they are welcoming afterwards, it said.

The fee will decrease according to the number of passengers welcomed.

Before the new rules were imposed, guides authorised by the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB) were welcoming people by using placards.

The new lounge is already creating difficulties, Duvar said. The passengers and people welcoming them have to use a desk to register their names to enter the lounge, it said.

The names of passengers arriving into the lounge can be followed on the screens, but people welcoming the passengers have to do guesswork to decide who is who.

“They show the names on the screen in the waiting lounge, but will guests come here and look at the screen to see their names,” Burcu Eliuz, a tourist guide, said. “Let’s say the guest did that, then how will he/she find me, he/she does not know me personally,” she said. 

Nedim Saraç, another tourist guide, told Duvar that he was unable to meet with three guests in only one day. 

“I wandered around, tried to recognise [my guests], asked people. This time the police came and fined me 320 lira under the law of misdemeanour,” he said. 

Another guide, Mehmet Bilgin, said tourists were already paying for welcoming services and were frustrated when they could not receive the service at the airport. 

The tourists in turn will provide negative feedback on services, leading to the new rules harming Turkish tourism, he added.