About Us

About Us

The international term known as Duty-Free and/or Tax-Free, which refers to the operation of duty-free stores, had its inception in the western part of Ireland, where it began with refueling operations. As airplanes refueled, passengers would indulge in meals and purchase cigarettes, alcohol, and souvenirs before embarking on their journey. The products sold here were exempt from taxes and customs duties because the airport was located in a designated free zone established in 1947 to promote the development of Shannon, a backward region of the country.

The history of passenger shopping in the duty-free sector began in a short time with rapid expansion in European countries, especially in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, during the 1960s. Subsequently, Turkey also adopted this practice. The increasing number of flight fleets and the development of tourism activities led to a significant increase in the number of passengers traveling by air in the 1970s.

Looking back at the history of shopping, people have historically met their basic needs in environments around transportation hubs, places of worship, and areas where they could take leisurely strolls. Starting from the era of railway transportation, the surroundings of major cathedrals, mosques, and other places of worship built in city squares were surrounded by shopping areas.

The habit of meeting some of the needs of travelers in these environments was not overlooked in newly built airports, and architectural designs incorporated suitable shopping areas into the projects, opening the way for contemporary retailing in line with current conditions. This concept was not limited to airports alone but was extended to similar designs at seaports and border crossings for different countries, whether by sea or land.

Turkey's status as a tourism paradise and its geographical location as a bridge between Europe and Asia, making it the cradle of civilizations, attract millions of tourists to our country annually via air, land, and sea routes. These travelers contribute significantly to the Turkish economy by making considerable purchases from our duty-free stores, which we operate.

The founding members of our association include internationally renowned companies in the duty-free sector, such as Setur, Dufry-Urart, ATU, and Unifree-Heinemann, which have proven themselves and can compete with world giants in terms of quality. Our supplier members include Philip Morris, Umur Basım (representative of Imperial Tobacco), Karelia, Efe Alkollü İçecekler A.Ş, and GTI Gümrük ve Turizm İşletmeleri, which is a subsidiary of TOBB, investing in and operating land border crossings.

All commercial activities in the stores at the locations where our members operate are carried out under the permission, control, and supervision of the Ministry of Customs and Trade, within the framework of the specified rules and regulations.

The development of air transportation has led to the well-deserved pride of Turkish Airlines joining the ranks of the world's leading companies and occupying an important position in the global competition, enhancing the prestige of our country. Moreover, many airports in Turkey have been renovated, expanded, or built from scratch under the Build-Operate-Transfer model by the private sector to ensure comfortable arrivals and departures for traveling passengers. Istanbul Airport has become one of the world's largest terminals in terms of passenger capacity.

Similarly, maritime transportation has developed under similar conditions, with important tourist ports like Kuşadası, Marmaris, Bodrum, Antalya, and Çeşme increasing their capacities and building comfortable and modern terminals.

For those traveling by road, under the leadership of TOBB, land border crossings have been rearranged, electronic control systems have been implemented, and passenger terminal buildings have been constructed, providing a secure passage for arriving and departing passengers with their vehicles and meeting all their needs.

Up to this point, everything mentioned has been built by the private sector under the Build-Operate-Transfer model, with modern, contemporary, and convenient structures emphasizing comfort and convenience to meet the needs of passengers during their travels. These locations also include commercial enterprises that provide services, and the revenue generated is used to finance investments.

As duty-free operators, although a significant percentage of the sales revenue we obtain is paid to the producer companies as rent, we believe that the number of employees our companies employ, the corporate tax we pay, and the value-added we create contribute significantly to the country's economy.

As an association, we undertake various activities in the public arena that serve the interests of the sector. Efforts are made to realize the necessary administrative and legal regulations by communicating with relevant stakeholders.

Our association is a member of the European Travel Retail Confederation (ETRC), under which all duty-free operators and suppliers of European countries come together, representing both our country and our sector.