A major international hotel search engine, Booking.com has been partially blocked in Turkey and North Cyprus because of a dispute with Turkey’s main travel agency body.
The move, reported as a “precautionary measure” while waiting for the ruling on a court case brought by the Turkish Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (Tursab), follows an earlier ruling by the Turkish Competition Authority that the site’s “best price guarantee” infringed competition law.
The company’s Turkish subsidiary, Booking.com Destek Hizmetleri Ltd, paid a fine of 2.5 million TL.
The block means internet-users in North Cyprus cannot view hotels in Turkey or vice versa, but TRNC tourism chiefs said yesterday they believed it would be more harmful to the website than to the local tourist industry.
Cyprus Turkish Travel Agents’ Union chairman Orhan Tolun said that thousands of Booking.com users would be affected. “Users within Turkey wishing to book listed hotels in North Cyprus will no longer be able to do so, and those within North Cyprus will also not be able to book hotels in Turkey”, he said.
“What will now happen is that people will revert to booking hotels in Turkey using a travel agency in North Cyprus, or will opt to use another online hotel search engine.”