Tours..... here there and SHOPS?

I spent some time yesterday at the Friday market and despite being here nearly 5 years I still get the old spiel from the marketeers operating tours and excursions.

Thought I would outline some things you should consider before booking any tours. This also covers the ones that are sold by your travel rep at the hotel.

Hopefully this article will have you better prepared and make for a better excursion!

Some tours seem such a bargain.

In fact, I have heard experiences where some tour companies almost pay you to go on a tour!
How can this be?

In a word,shopping.

Many land based tours include a "shopping component," a stop at one or more shops selling carpets, ceramics, furs, souvenirs, etc. where you are invited to buy things.
What's wrong with that?

In principle, nothing. We all want souvenirs of our trips: photos, postcards, apparel, jewellery, carpets, etc.

The shops to which your guide takes you may have good-quality merchandise and provide helpful, reliable service.
I see three problems:

1. Higher Prices

The prices at tour shops are often higher than in non-tour shops. They may even be substantially higher.

Not really just business. If you are satisfied to have the item for a certain price, who's to say you're wrong?

2. One Shop

Tour shops are often in isolated locations, well away from other shops, so it's impossible to compare quality and prices, or even if you're not interested in shopping you often feel compelled to look.

Even if your tour is cheap, your holiday time isn't. You could be seeing and doing other things if you weren't in shopping exile.
Some tours label the shopping stop a "cultural educational visit," which it may be: you may learn interesting facts about Turkish crafts or carpets. But that's not really why your tour stops at a shop.

3. Commissions

The main reason tour shop prices are higher is that shops pay your guide and/or tour company commissions on all your purchases. Is this a bad thing?

You make up your own mind.....

Commission is just another word for mark-up and/or finder's fee, a normal business practice.

Commissions have been around for thousands of years. Every time you buy an airline ticket, or book a hotel room, buy insurance, a guidebook or a mobile phone, or purchase any of a hundred other items or services at home, you pay commissions.

So what's wrong with commissions? Well, in some tour shops they may bevery high. Yes, your guide has provided a service by bringing you to a shop which they believe has good-quality merchandise and service.

But is the guide's service worth the mark-up? Sometimes it is, sometimes it may not be.

Many guides are eager to give good service to visitors, and honestly want to help.

Some others may be more interested in the commissions. And for yet other guides, the shopping stop may be arranged by the tour company, and the guide may have no control over it.

What You Should Do
Here are steps you should take to have the best possible tour:

1. Ask about shopping before booking your tour

If you don't want to spend time in shops, tell the people selling you the tour.

Chances are they'll confess that there are stops in shops, but that's why the tour is as cheap as it is.
If you really don't want shopping stops, buy your tour directly from a company that is forthright about the presence or absence of shopping in their itineraries or buy a private or semi-private tour where you control the itinerary (which will probably be more expensive).

2. Study the shopping market before your tour

Shop for souvenirs on your own, finding the shops yourself so no one can claim a commission from your visit. Go to two or three shops and price similar goods to get an idea of average prices and quality. Turkish shopkeepers are usually extraordinarily helpful, happily explaining how items are made and the different levels of quality.

If you know something about the market, you'll be able to judge whether or not the prices in a tour shop are appropriate for the goods and level of service.


Super Moderator
Thanks for Posting this info Lee.

Having worked as a rep, i know this is a common thing that the companies do.

The tour business is very competitive, & any way to make the tour cost lower is always sort out.

Yeah Lee, definately godd information. I became aware of all that the first year I did a season..... GOOD THINKING...

Same for the Boat Trips Ect, like you said dont go with your rep, get down to the harbour and barter for yourself....

I did and ended up with a trip for less than half the price the guides were selling at!! And dont worry it wasnt like the titanic.!