With 12 guides, over 600 tours sold and plenty of positive reviews, Arzu Altinay’s company Walks in Istanbul was going well. Then the business started to go very wrong.

The political atmosphere in Turkey started to change around 2015 and there was a a bloody coup attempt a year later. Tourism dried up. Altinay, who had been a professional tour guide since 1998, lost the vast majority of her customers.

When PayPal stopped operating in Turkey in 2016, even those still wanting to pay for her tours couldn’t. “I was desperate because my business died immediately. I’m a single parent and had no money coming in.”

Altinay knew that she had to move her company outside of Turkey. “The business was working, it just wasn’t working in Istanbul”. Read More