National Security Ministry continues to “oversee” Turkmenistan’s travel agencies

On 22 April the editorial office of Chronicles of Turkmenistan received a letter from a person who informed us about the challenges that tour guides in Turkmenistan are faced with. According to him, the main problem is that several times a day they have to report to a supervisor from Turkmenistan's National Security Ministry (NSM).

This letter is a response to our publication Welcome to Turkmenistan? which says that Turkmen tourist agencies are urged to carry out the functions of special services, tracking the movements of their clients and even accompanying them at weddings.

� NSM officers not only call us by telephone but follow us and tourists in a separate vehicle during excursions and even escort us to local markets, � the author of the message said.

If a tour guide fails to report to a NSM supervisor promptly or provide inaccurate information about the places visited by tourists, he will be pressured by his supervisor and will need to submit explanatory letters.

Moreover, if an employee of the travel agency resides in the province but works in the capital he/she cannot be employed officially. Consequently, his salary is below average and he is urged to ask for tips from tourists.

Source: Chronicles of Turkmenistan