Introduction – A Brief History of Today’s GENÇTUR

GENÇTUR’s roots go back to 1959, when the first international voluntary work camp organized in Turkey by Incentive Association for Voluntary Work Camps (Türkiye Gönüllü Çalışma Kamplarını Teşvik Derneği) which was established by a group of college students. The name has been changed to “Voluntary Services Association” (Gönüllü Hizmetler Derneği ) by 1970s.

In 1979 GENÇTUR Travel Agency was born, in order to supply financial support for the activities of the Voluntary Services Association, as a sister, legal and commercial structure because the civil law in these dates was not allowing the NGOs to have any commercial activities.

In 1980, Voluntary Services Association was banned as all other NGOs throuout the country, by the military coup while the travel agency kept out of the ban due to its commercial structure. After this point, GENÇTUR Travel Agency took over the responsibilities of the Voluntary Services Association, in order to keep sustainability of the international voluntary work camps in Turkey. Since then, all voluntary work camps have been organized by GENÇTUR Travel Agency under the frame of youth mobility.

Although legally registered as a commercial travel agency, GENÇTUR never aimed to be a profit making company but acted as a non-profit making youth organisation. As there is still no recognition of “non profit making companies” in Turkey , we can not be labelled so, identified, described and recognized, but still act as non-profit making.

In 2002, Turkey had a new NGO Law and also became a program country by joining in EU Youth Program where Turkish NGO’s could be a partner. The Turkish National Agency has been established in 2002 as well. This was a chance to go back to the old days and the staff of GENÇTUR Travel Agency, founded a new NGO called “GENÇLİK TURİZMİ DERNEĞİ” (Youth Tourism Association), in 2002 which gave us a second soul in one body.

Since 2002,

GENÇTUR Travel Agency facilitates the travels of Turkish youth by selling Interrail and flight tickets, supplying International student, youth and teacher discount cards, sending around 550 Turkish volunteers in short term International Voluntary Workcamps in 85 countries and hosting aroun 300 short-medium-long terms volunteers from all over the world, but still acting as a non profit making social entrepreneurship.

GENÇLİK TURİZMİ DERNEĞİ undertakes youth exchanges and EVS within EU Youth Program.

  • Youth Program (2002-2006) / Euro-Med Program
  • Youth in Action (2007-2014)
  • Erasmus + (2014 – 2020)