Why investing money to promote Northern Cyprus

Why investing money to promote Northern Cyprus


Why investing  money to promote Northern Cyprus

Firstly the flight options are ludicrously limited. For a place aspiring to be a major tourist destination, flights are few and far between. If you can, by chance, find a flight to Ercan Airport, then you will almost certainly be put off by the high prices. Since the disastrous collapse of Cyprus Turkish Airlines earlier this year, the travelling public has been practically held to ransom by the greedy airlines who are lining their pockets with the high prices that we expect tourists to pay to visit Northern Cyprus? And you know what? They will not pay. They will either fly in through Larnaca or they will simply decide to holiday elsewhere. Then of course there is the not so small matter of having to touch down in Turkey first. However much we pretend that it is only a minimal interruption, we have to face the facts that it puts a lot of people off from visiting Northern Cyprus. After all why would you fly for a minimum of six hours to go to Northern Cyprus – often more - when you can fly from London to Larnaca in around four and a half hours, it just does not make sense.
We have heard so many times over the last few years that direct flights are just around the corner. We continue to hope and we continue to invest in our businesses and livelihoods but that corner never comes.
Let me tell you about my friend and neighbour Richard, an English guy. His health is not great and finds that his medical condition responds much better to the warm climate of Cyprus – let’s face it, who doesn’t prefer it to rainy England? He started off visiting Amergeti in Paphos for his holidays but found the prices shot up after the South became part of the Eurozone, so he tried a holiday in Northern Cyprus and became hooked. The same hot climate but at half the price.
Richard probably visits Northern Cyprus two or three times a year at the moment but he is actively looking to buy a property here and relocate at some stage in the near future. So far so good. Then comes the problem – getting here.  He told me it is hell on earth trying to get a decent connection into Ercan International – and at a competitive price - especially since Cyprus Turkish Airlines went bust.
So what does he do? He does what anyone would do and skips Ercan altogether. He flies into Larnaca on one of the regular and inexpensive flights and then makes his way north. In the winter he hires a car from Larnaca and drives himself, which at £7 or £8 a day is pretty reasonable, and in the summer, when it gets too pricey, he hops north of the border in a taxi.
In short,  Richard and thousands of people like him are saving themselves serious cash and wasted time by flying into Larnaca instead of to Ercan. Thousands more, ones that we never hear about, never even make it to Northern Cyprus as they are put off by the long journey and stopover in Turkey.
How can we position ourselves as a major tourist destination when we cannot even get the basics right? Why do people continue to invest in world-class hotels and resorts if we do not have the world-class connections to match?
Why bother investing any more into Ercan International airport when it is fast becoming a provincial airport between Northern Cyprus and Turkey instead of the “Gateway to Northern Cyprus” which we were promised?

 

Claire M.

Date : 23.2.2011