First of all, I decided my business career when I was at high school and I studied Travel Agency Management and Tourist Guiding at the University.
During my university education, I worked summers in the tourism industry. But the season of 2009 I worked for a land operator which gave service in Turkey to one of the biggest cruise lines. I helped guides all summer and I was staying with the guides during the tours. I decided to become a tour guide that year. I went to the United States in 2010 to learn American culture and business life. I worked at the hotel as a receptionist in Virgina for one year. I went to the USA because the most of the guests come from the USA. So I improved my English and passed all the exams and became a tour guide.
If you could only take a visitor to one place in Turkey where would you go?
It is very difficult to answer because there are many unique places I want to take my guests. I think I would take my guest to Ephesus then. Because it is one of best places to explain culture, history and local life in Turkey.
How would you describe your style as a guide?
I am free style, each of my tours is unique. I do not have any plan for the day. Everything begins when I meet with my guests. I always try to show my guests the real Turkey.
The best part of my job is I meet with new people and this teaches me so many things. In the morning before the tour, I do not know anything about John from the USA – but by the afternoon, I know another person and life.
What’s the most bizarre experience or odd request from a client you’ve had on a guided tour?
One day I was guiding for Pamukkale (Cotton Castle) Tour. We call it Pamukkale because the hill looks like a castle and it’s all white. The reason for the white colour is calcium. So I was explaining the history of the place while we were walking near the water and terraces. Suddenly one person from the group asked me ‘Anil, is this cotton?’ I was so surprised, I see many of the group think the same as me because some of the guests start to laugh, but I could not, of course, I had to explain one more time. But it was a good story that I share with my other guide friends.
Every job has its ups and downs. Are there any aspects of your job that you don’t like or aren’t that keen on?
On my side, there is nothing that I do not like about my job. I wish summer was longer here.
When you’re not busy guiding tours – what’s your favourite thing you to do?
My favourite thing is to spend time with my little girl. She makes me smile and happy always.
Is there a unique local specialty that all visitors must try?
Ephesus Ancient City is a must for those who come to Kusadasi.
We guides know where a tourist can find good food in any location. Also, only guides know local places where tourists enjoy local people.
As an experienced guide yourself, can you explain to our readers what the benefits of hiring a guide are?
A country like Turkey should not be visited without a guide because this is the point where many civilizations meet, the birthplace of Religions and home for the biggest Empires of the World. It’s so wrong for me to just read from a book. You can miss many important places. Maybe it’s very small information, but you would love it.
In your view, what makes a good tour guide?
For me three most important things are understanding, communication and perception.
And finally, have you got any tips for people who are interested in booking a guide like yourself, but aren’t too sure what to look for?
I must tell them that all licensed guides are good guides in Turkey. All give you very good information but of course, personality is different. You might read guide descriptions or look at the picture of the guide because I believe a photo tells you many things.