The number of Turkish Cypriots who choose to use Larnaca airport over Ercan (Tymbou) in the north has increased by 30 per cent, daily Kibris reported on Wednesday.
Turkish Cypriot tour operators who spoke to the paper said the reason for the increase was overpriced flights out of the north. A return ticket to Istanbul from Ercan costs around €250 while a 35- minute flight to Antalya is priced around €180 so Turkish Cypriots are choosing to go elsewhere, the paper said.
One tour operator told the paper that for the Muslim Festival of the Sacrifice Eid al-Adha, which will last from August 30 to September 4, Turkish Cypriots have booked holidays mainly in Spain and Italy rather than in Turkey.
Fethiye Karahasanoglu from Sayar Tourism said plane tickets to Istanbul for a family of four was nearly equal to package tour prices in Europe. That was why Turkish Cypriots’ destination of choice for the holiday was Europe and the reason they were choosing to fly from Larnaca was because it was cheaper, and the flights were direct. A plane departing from Ercan has to touch down in Turkey in order to fly to other destinations.
Öcen Bökeyhan from Polatkan Tourism said due to the high ticket prices from Ercan, demand for Istanbul was very low this year and added that Turkish Cypriots would actually start choosing to go to Istanbul from Larnaca via Athens because even it was cheaper. The tour operators appealed to the authorities to take measures to protect travellers from the high ticket prices.