In this organization that we attended twice and 34 country delegates were present, our candidacy for the membership of the board of directors, in which five people were elected, was completed in 6th place with 15 votes. It did not go unnoticed that Aluscha Ritchie, elected to the Presidency for the second time from South Africa, received five blank ballots in the voting as the only name. Two members from the United Kingdom, one from the United States, Iran and the Philippines were appointed to the Board of Directors.
As you know, last week, we attended the 18th General Assembly of the World Federation of Tourist Guides Associations held in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, with a delegation of our Registry Board President Meltem Karamete, our Association Treasurer Sümeyra Yazan and me. We watched a presentation that should be attended by those who will be delegates for the first time before the General Assembly of the Federation, which has 61 members from 102 countries on a national scale. It was done twice; we were in both, just in case.
During the process, which started with the cocktail given on the evening of January 19 and the press conference held on January 20, and ended with the closing ceremony held on January 25, a variety of valuable presentations were made for the delegates, whose number was approximately forty, and for the attendees exceeding two hundred. While our airport transfers were welcomed free of charge, many walking tours were organized for the participants, although we could not participate much on our own. We found opportunities to get closer to the delegates of other countries during the round table work with an interactive aspect, break breaks with lousy coffee, and lunches where chicken is eaten daily. During the congress, we saw that the former presidents, who were all women, had great weight, and we took care to establish good relations in this direction. We received feedback from Turkey about those who attended congresses before us and did not keep their promises. While we thought that you were not a candidate due to the obstacles coming from the country in the past, we were informed that we could not be a candidate due to missing documents in the application from the President of the Federation at the time.
Austria, Canada, United States, Ireland, Iran, Germany, Azerbaijan, Australia, Poland, Greece, both from the north and south of Cyprus, Armenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Sweden, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Spain, and Georgia, coming from Vienna, where the official headquarters of the Federation is located. While establishing warm relations with Moldova and Moldova, we met Efi Kalampoukidou, the head of the European Tourist Guides Federation, and discussed membership terms. We were invited as observers to their event in Portugal in 2019.
Federation and General Assembly
WFTGA is the short name of the Federation, which is understood to have been established in 1985 with a Vienna-based headquarters. They come together every two years, at the end of January and the beginning of February. This process, called the General Assembly, can take up to eleven or twelve days with extensions from the beginning and end of the congress, which spans five days. In these congresses, where all the colleagues of the host country carry out voluntary activities, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, the Treasurer and five members of the Board of Directors, who will serve for two years and are elected by an absolute majority, are voted separately. Again, proposals for amendments to the Bylaws requested in this process will be discussed two years later. After that, a Board of Audit and Arbitration consisting of three people is determined, and finally, the host of the congress two years later is chosen. We, together with the United States and Georgia, took part in the Board of Arbitration until 2021, which is the decision maker on possible disputes within the Federation.
In this organization, which we attended for the first time and in which 34 country delegates were present, our candidacy for the membership of the board of directors, in which five people were elected, was completed in 6th place with 15 votes. It did not go unnoticed that Aluscha Ritchie, elected to the Presidency for the second time from South Africa, received five blank ballots in the voting as the only name. Two members from the United Kingdom, one each from the United States, Iran and the Philippines, were appointed to the Board of Directors.
Applications were collected for the regional representatives within the Federation, whose number is fourteen. The board of directors determines the representatives who maintain relations with the guide organizations in the region where they are mainly responsible. At this point, we applied for the “Regional Representatives Coordinatorship” and “regional representation” for the region covering Turkey, Northern Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Bosnia, North Macedonia, Greece and Kosovo.
2021 Candidate countries
At the beginning of the congress, the presentations of the candidate countries for the next congress were made. During these presentations, open to all congress participants, each country tried to explain why they were the correct country. The mayor of Syracuse was also appreciated for his support. By the way, there were four candidate cities for 2021. Lisbon, Syracusa, Cebu and Novi Sad. Novi Sad, which we also support, beat Syracusa, where they went head-to-head in the third round. Considering our historical ties and the ease of transportation that the location will bring, we thought our decision in Novi Sad would be advantageous.
Preparation for 2021 for 2023
I mentioned that at each congress, the following host country is determined. We shared our thoughts on holding the Twentieth General Assembly, which coincides with the 100th Anniversary of our Republic, in 2023 in our country. We received positive feedback from many people for our idea, which we shared before and during the congress. Unfortunately, following the application requirements of the Federation, of which we are a full member, we can only apply as TKTC to host the 2023 congress in 2021.
We also saw that most of the candidate countries applied with the sponsorship of Turkish Airlines. Therefore, why don’t we use such an opportunity when we have it? If we can go to the congress that will be held in Novi Sad, just above Belgrade, between February 1-5, 2021, if we can prepare a stand supported with well-designed visuals, and if we can emphasize the meaning of such an organization in Turkey for Turkish guides, we can achieve this. I am sure that the idea of celebrating the fifth birthday of our society at the congress that we will hold at the end of January 2023 excites you as well.
Thank you for seeing it worth reading so far, and we would like to express our gratitude to everyone who supported our departure and development during this process.
History, Culture and Tourism Guides Association
Chairman of the Board
Baris H. Partal Kavala