“Tourists travelling to North Cyprus via the South’s Larnaca airport should switch to using Ercan airport instead”, Tourism minister Fikri Ataoglu after the South Cyprus government was accused of sabotaging TRNC tourism.
Ataoglu told ‘Cyprus Today’ that the government will stop issuing incentives to travel agents whose North Cyprus holiday packages include flights to South Cyprus. He said agents would instead be given 80 euros for each person travelling on a package holiday lasting at least one week, but that they ‘must come from Ercan’. He also warned that British passports holders heading to the TRNC via Larnaca could face ‘problems’ once the UK leaves the EU.
Ataoglu also said to the paper: “Shall we now declare that Larnaca airport, which is built on Turkish Cypriot land, is also illegal and that thousands of tourists using it are trespassers?”
However, Orhan Tolun, head of the Cyprus Turkish Travel agents’ union, was critical of the plans to end travel agent subsidies for Larnaca airport. He argued that “travelling to Ercan airport which involves a change of aircraft in Turkey, was just too expensive and that large number of tourists preferred using Larnaca. We are going to shoot ourselves in the foot”, he added.
According to the paper, Fikri Toros, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO), said that he too had been “discomforted” by the development.