The deputy ministry for shipping is ready to launch a study into the viability and cost of setting up a ferry line linking Cyprus with Greece, and by extension with Europe and is already in contact with the Greek ministry of shipping, the House transport committee heard on Friday.
The committee examined of its own volition the need for a coastal connection with Greece and the rest of Europe, after a proposal was tabled by Disy MPs Nicos Tornaritis and Annita Demetriou.
Deputy Minister for Shipping, Natasa Pilidou said that a ferry link with Greece was one of the deputy ministry’s main goals.
Following the cabinet’s approval of the venture in October 2018, she said, a study was being prepared to determine the cost, after which funds will be sought from the EU. If necessary, further funding will be provided by the state, given its approval, she said.
Deliberations are expected to be completed by the end of next week, finalising the preparation of the study, which should be completed within 10 weeks from the day of signing the contracts, Pilidou added.
“It’s a process that will take time, and the first ferry will definitely not embark during this touristic period, but we hope that we will proceed until the next.”
Regarding fares, Pilidou said that efforts will be made so that ferry fares will be comparatively cheaper to those of aeroplanes.
The deputy minister for tourism Savvas Perdios told the committee that the tourist aspect of the link must be of a high-quality level in order to attract quality tourism from Greece.
“We must be careful so that Cyprus is not transformed into a country visited by a large number of tourists for just a few hours, like what happens in many well-known Aegean islands like Santorini” he said.
The Limassol port must be turned into a hub and a tourist base, Perdios said.
According to Tornaritis, the issue is firstly a case of human rights, since studies show that around 10 per cent of the public cannot travel by plane, noting that there were currently 12,000 signatures for the creation of a ferry link.