A comprehensive online survey was conducted in the Grand Bazaar, which hosts thousands of tourists a day, “Sociological Analysis of the Contribution of the Artisans of the Grand Bazaar to Culture and Tourism from Past to Present”. 27 percent of the participants who emigrated from different provinces of Turkey and started their trades in the Grand Bazaar have been living in Istanbul for more than 11 years. The most important factor in migration to big cities came to the forefront with 24.2 percent as 'earning a livelihood'. 38.7 percent of the participants stated that they continue their family business, 30.6 percent stated that they work as a tradesman to earn money due to their livelihood problems. In the research, in which it is stated that there is no generation behind in the name of the sustainability of the profession because there are no apprentices as before, according to the tradesmen, there is a need for more advertising and promotion for the Grand Bazaar to move.
Üsküdar University Head of Sociology Department Prof. Dr. Under the leadership of Ebulfez Süleymanlı, a research was conducted on 'Sociological Analysis of the Contributions of the Tradesmen of the Grand Bazaar to Culture and Tourism from Past to Present', in which Eurasia University Social Work Department Dr. Lecturer Nihan Kalkandeler also took an active role.
62 Grand Bazaar shopkeepers participated in the online survey. The research was carried out in order to determine the contribution of the Grand Bazaar to culture and tourism in general, to examine the perspectives of tradesmen on domestic and foreign tourism, to shed light on the unknown difficulties of the tradesman profession, to analyze the effects and results of the pandemic process, and to reveal suggestions for the future of the profession.
Views of different generations were examined
Among the 18-60 age group, 90 percent of the survey participants were men and 10 percent were women. It was seen that 40.3 percent of the participants were at undergraduate level, 22.6 percent at high school or equivalent, 12.9 percent at associate degree, 9.7 percent at primary school and 4.8 percent at graduate education level. Although the rate is low, participants who did not graduate from any educational institution also took part in the research.
There are artisans from all over Turkey in the Grand Bazaar.
Looking at the origins, it was understood that 27.4% of the participants who had immigrated from Ağrı to Kırklareli from all over the country had lived in Istanbul for more than 11 years. “What is your reason for coming to Istanbul?” To the question, 24.2 percent of the shopkeepers answered "to earn a living", 21 percent "we migrated as a family of our own will" and 17.7 percent "due to education". It was determined that 45.2 percent of the participants were born and raised in Istanbul.
41.9 percent of the tradesmen are shopkeepers
51.6 percent of the shopkeepers answered "I am married" to the question about their marital status, and 38.7 percent answered "I am single". In the analysis of employment status, it was seen that 35.5 percent of the participants were paid employees, 41.9 percent were shopkeepers and 14.5 percent were tenants. It has been determined that students who have to both study and earn money in the Grand Bazaar also work at a very low rate.
Fields of activity are very wide
From the point of view of the field of activity, it was determined that 22.6 percent of the participants were in the forefront as those selling bags and leather products, 19.4 percent as jewelers, and 17.7 percent as souvenirs. In addition, tradesmen who sell antique goods, food and beverage, tobacco products, Turkish delight, leather, touristic goods, handmade carpets, shoes, operate cafes-restaurants, stonemasons and take their place in the covered bazaar as an exchange office drew attention. This result made it possible to understand that the fields of activity spread over a wide area. It was seen that the mentioned tradesmen practiced this profession for 32.3-1 years with a rate of 5 percent, for 19.4 years or more with a rate of 20 percent, for 17.7-6 years with a rate of 10 percent, for less than a year with a rate of 12.9 percent, and between 1-11.3 years with a rate of 11 percent.
38.7 percent continue their family profession
“Why the Grand Bazaar tradesmen?” 38.7 percent of the participants answered 'I continue the family profession', 30.6 percent 'to earn money by working for livelihood'. Those who set up their own business with their savings, 16.1 percent, those who set up their business in the covered bazaar by relying on the customer potential due to the circulation in the covered bazaar, 14.5 percent, those who quit their previous job and set up a new business with 12.9%, and those who work as a tradesman with the aim of speaking with tourists and learning a language continue their profession with a rate of 9.7 percent.
It is important to be able to communicate with the tourist
In the research, it was concluded that the tradesmen who sell to 30.6 percent domestic tourists and 62.9 percent foreign tourists should use a common language. Since the tradesmen are in constant communication with the tourists, it is also important to determine the foreign language knowledge, comprehension and speaking proficiency. It was seen that 74.2 percent of the participants mainly use English as the language of communication. English was followed by Arabic with 30.6 percent, Russian with 17.7 percent, German and Spanish with 9.7 percent, French with 6.5 percent and Persian with 1.6 percent. The rate of tradesmen who can both understand and speak several foreign languages was 25.6 percent.
Shopkeepers complain about customers who do not bargain and buy
When asked why shopkeepers have trouble communicating; The rate of those who have difficulty in satisfying their customers is 41.9 percent, the rate of tradesmen who have difficulties because of the fact that domestic tourists constantly bargain and go without buying anything, the rate of tradesmen who have difficulties due to the fact that foreign tourists bargain and do not buy anything is 21 percent, and the rate of tradesmen who have language problems. rate was 8.1%. In addition to these data, it was concluded that the tradesmen did not have communication problems with a rate of 14.5 percent.
They want to attract more foreign tourists.
“Do you prefer to attract the attention of domestic or foreign tourists?” 75.8 percent of the participants answered "foreign tourists" and 12.9 percent "domestic tourists". In terms of the presentation of service quality and attitudes towards customers, the emphasis "I show interest to domestic customers like a foreign tourist" had a rate of 69.4 percent. The answer, "I welcome the customer with care, whether they shop or not" was reflected in the results with a rate of 75.8 percent. It is possible to reconcile these ratios with the perception that the customer is a benefactor in every sense, and with love to do his job as a requirement of business ethics.
They care about promoting local culture
In the research, it was seen that the tradesmen improved themselves and they learned the job on the job and gained experience with a rate of 75.8 percent. The presence of tradesmen who received their education in the field of tourism with a rate of 22.6% was also reflected in the results. “Do you care about cultural tourism or shopping tourism?” The answer was 'shopping tourism' with 58.1 percent and 'cultural tourism' with 32.3 percent. “Is it important to promote local culture or present the popular to the buyer?” 59.7 percent of the tradesmen answered the question "They should embrace the local culture and introduce it to the tourists". The answer was 'follow what is popular and sell' with a rate of 30.6 percent. Since the conditions changed according to the current period, the answer 'it should be both' was reflected in the results with a rate of 6.4 percent.
27.4% prefer to do sports outside of working hours
“What activities do you like to do outside of your working hours?” 27.4 percent of the shopkeepers answered "doing sports", 21 percent "listening to music", 16.1 percent "watching movies" and 8.1 percent "reading a book". In addition, activities such as picnics, watching the scenery, spending time with their children, playing computer games, traveling and spending time with the family were also among the choices.
30.6% do not read books
“What kind of books do you read?” To the question, 16.1 percent of the participants answered scientific, 14.5 percent novels, 12.9 percent religious books, and 12.8 percent adventure genre. At the same time, it was seen that world classics, newspapers, magazines, historical novels, crime fiction, science-fiction novels and personal development books were among the choices. The rate of participants who stated that they did not read a book drew attention with a rate of 30.6%.
The pandemic process affected the tradesmen of the Grand Bazaar
The research revealed that the tradesmen suffered financial damage during the pandemic process and that they had difficulty paying their shop rents the most. It was understood that the shopkeepers, who could not make a profit because they could not sell, and could not pay their rent, were shuttered, had great economic difficulties, suffered losses due to the lack of tourists, could not receive any support and had a hard time. It has even been observed that there are people who have health problems, those who lost their lives due to catching Covid, and those who closed their shops. Those who stated that they experienced anxiety, fear and anxiety in a psychological sense made it possible to understand that the pandemic process caused negative effects in the business and private life of the shopkeepers.
Tradesmen, who can do business during the pandemic process, stated that they can sell to tourists from Russia, Azerbaijan, Arabia, Pakistan, Balkan countries and Poland. This situation showed that foreign tourists added activity to sales, albeit to a certain extent. It has been determined that domestic tourism has come to a standstill due to the lack of domestic tourist visits from Turkey.
Artisans in anticipation of the future
It was seen that the circulation in their professions was promising for some tradesmen. The tradesmen, who had negative thoughts, also cited the difficulty in production. It was stated that there is no generation behind in the name of the sustainability of the profession, as there are no apprentices as before. It was stated that tourism and the Grand Bazaar will not come to an end, but the possibility that the sectors may change according to the conditions of the day will decrease gradually in the bazaar. It is possible to talk about the existence of positive comments that the future of the craftsmanship is bright and the way is clear.
Grand Bazaar needs promotion
“What measures should be taken by the authorities to make the Grand Bazaar more active?” More advertisements are needed, promotions are needed, renovations need to be done quickly, transportation problem should be solved and parking lot should be arranged, financial support such as rental assistance is needed, security measures should be increased, cultural events should be organized.