I completed a long marathon that looked like it took eight days from the outside, but that started three years ago, and I returned to our home in Istanbul.
I want to thank all the institutions and organizations that have supported us with their existence in the process that started after the letter of intent we sent in August.
This article is mainly for those who want to understand today in the future, and secondarily, “what did this Barış do today? what did he do?” Written for those who are wondering. Those who know the previous subject can continue under the title of ‘Candidate Process’.
After my career, which started in ships calling at Aegean and Mediterranean ports, became licensed, I first registered with the Istanbul Chamber of Guides (it was not compulsory to be a member at that time). Then, with the enactment of the law in 2012, TUREB, of which I was one of the founders, came into our lives. Since the beginning of 2013, I have had the opportunity to meet and network with hundreds of colleagues who spread all over Europe, this time focusing entirely on foreign tours.
After so many years of labour in the rooms and together, we decided to establish our association with a handful of friends when we realized that even the people who seem very respectable from afar are people who don’t care about anyone or anything but themselves. Good thing we did. It was obvious that being a legal entity that no one but its members could interfere with was the only way out. Didn’t anyone laugh at us that day and confuse us with high school alumni associations? No one separated us from us because he could not tolerate the colours of the rainbow, and no one tried to deter our members by saying, “what is the need to pay dues”. Good thing they did. In this way, we can continue our path with people whose personalities we are sure of. Thank you.
On the other hand, the best part of getting away from the unnecessary and insincere crowd is our society, which is now known and known by all world guides. We will have done the needs assessment correctly so that associations were established one after the other. Maybe now we can form a federation from those associations; who knows?
This process started on paper with the letter of intent we sent on August 1, 2021, and has been in our minds and lakes since January 2019. Turkey, where our profession has been recognized since 1890, was a candidate for this congress for the first time. The city in our hearts was Izmir. The Federation told us that cities that are relatively small and need tourism promotion have a good chance. After the mayor of Izmir, who distributed blue beads to everyone, sent us with beads, we also agreed on Istanbul, as we thought that at least İmamoğlu would take care of this issue, but we were very wrong. We tried very, very hard. It took us months to get a letter from an apartment no one cared about. It’s at the last minute. The situation might have been very different if we had gotten that fifteen-second video. But she didn’t. I can’t do anything other than say God bless you.
Then a wonderful thing happened, I met the device called the state. The support I received from the Governorship of Istanbul, where I went as a non-governmental organization leader, both honoured me and made me realize what kind of opportunities (I say in good faith) did not use those who managed our strong and effective institutions in the past.
ABOUT THE CONGRESS
When the Novi Sad amiyane tour we chose in the congress we attended in 2019 exploded, the pointer shifted to the online congress. We hadn’t worked for two years already. The virtual convention would have saved us no matter how close the cost. But it did not happen, at the last moment, the decision was made in the congress, and we had to go to Madrid in a hurry. The cost of this congress to our association was roughly 1500 euros. This is a massive burden for our association, whose only source is membership fees. And those who watch us will see that we will not only take it back in the next five years but also build a world on it.
WHAT DID WE LEARN?
I found out what we did wrong or what we neglected. We say that travelling makes people mature, and knowing different cultures helps to position oneself more healthily in life. At this time, I realized that we, who need to travel, see and think the most, never, never travel. We do not listen to other guides. Therefore, we cannot make comparisons. Like people who talk to themselves and convince themselves that they are good from the beginning, we always do the same tours and tell the same memorizations. Maybe we are home to the oldest civilizations in the world, but we know no one but ourselves. This won’t happen. Such universal values do not exist. We learned this.
WHAT DID WE SEE?
We are people with similar problems. We are so similar that you can learn much from the people you meet at such congresses. And sadly, we have thousands of guides who have never been abroad. We need to show our guidance students how the profession is practised by taking our guidance students to (at least) neighbouring countries other than Turkey. How can we expect them to be intellectuals without giving them this horizon? Come on. I passed the student; even if you are a guide for ten, or twenty years, listening to someone other than yourself will add a lot to you. So did I.
There are people like us, and some of them are trying hard for their insensitive profession. Whoever you fall won’t get there; some hold your hand until you go. There are all kinds of people/guides, some of whom are sullen, some like nimrods. After all, I mean that there are beautiful and ugly people everywhere. Maybe the difference between us is just language and geography; apart from that, we are similar. Watching those who break away from the group on the way is the similarity of our timing methods, the care or negligence we show, and the similarities or differences in our expressions… observing them adds a lot to one’s mind.
And one more thing, we saw that his union president did not show the interest shown by his son here. We wrote this aside because that soup is meant to be drunk cold.
WHAT DID WE EARN?
We have earned WFTGA Arbitration Commission Membership until 2024. We managed to get the issue of International Sign Language on the agenda. We had the opportunity to chat and meet face-to-face with at least thirty names. We have gained hundreds of contacts that will produce precious solutions. They knew about us; now they know better. But they will get to know us better, love when they get to know us, and want to be with us. I’m pretty sure of that. And I think we’ve regained something else; confidence in ourselves. We have seen that we can gain an appreciation of the whole world when we want. We have earned the belief that we can do more.
I have never abandoned anyone who has not left me in the middle until now. As long as there is one person by my side, I will continue to walk this path, make those who trust me happy, and continue to upset some of my colleagues. Now is the time to continue where I left off in the book of our project ‘Istanbul in the Years of Captivity.
With my love and respect
Hasan Baris Partal
History Culture Tourism Guides Association
Chairman of the Board
WFTGA Arbitration Committee Member