Twenty taxi drivers have attended the 10-week course so far and were trained on how to communicate in English with foreign tourists.
The Istanbul Taxi Drivers Tradesmen’s Association (İTEO) has opened an English course for taxi drivers in order to provide foreign tourists with more qualified services.
So far, 20 taxi drivers have attended the 10-week course organized by the İTEO, where drivers were trained on how to communicate in English with foreign tourists.
“When tourists leave the airport, they first come across a taxi driver. So the drivers are the most visible faces of cities; they are voluntary tourism ambassadors, as well,” the İTEO’s head, Yahya Uğur, said.
Uğur added that they opened the English courses in order to better host foreign tourists and contribute to the country’s promotion by helping alter drivers’ visions with both foreign language courses and personal development training such as “anger management.”
Indicating that an annual 10 million tourists visit Istanbul, Uğur said taxi drivers would do their best to increase that number.
According to Uğur, the drivers voluntarily attend the courses. “I guess [attending the courses] will be compulsory when the number of English-speaking taxi drivers exceeds the number of those who cannot. Of course, such an obligation would favor the drivers,” Uğur said.
“We think other taxi drivers will also want to receive training. We will increase the frequency of such courses in order to teach English to every single taxi driver in Istanbul,” he said.
One driver who received the language training, Mustafa Vehbi Dursun, said he could not speak any English before the course but now could communicate with tourists, advising his colleagues to learn English if they wanted to advance to higher positions and earn more.
“Once we used to see tourists as aliens. At least, that [view] has changed. And the problems we encounter have decreased,” Dursun said.