Cyprus Mail

North offers to fill gaps left by cancelled Thomas Cook flights

Tymbou (Ercan) airport

Turkish Cypriot ‘tourism minister’ Unal Ustel offered help to the southern part of the island following the collapse of tour operator giant Thomas Cook, which has adversely affected Greek Cypriot hoteliers and dented future arrivals.

He did not specify what the assistance was other than urging people to travel through Tymbou (Ercan) airport instead.

Ustel said in a written announcement that his ‘ministry’ was ready to offer assistance “to our neighbouring southern Greek Cypriot part” together with the north’s tourism stakeholders in the face of these negative developments in tourism.

He said the Thomas Cook collapse did not affect the north to any extent since the tourism industry there mostly works with Turkish air carriers while tourists arrive on charter flights from other countries via Turkey.

Ustel said that Greek Cypriots who wanted to travel to the south from the UK, as well as tourists,  could plan their flights through Turkish air carriers. “The tourism of the two countries should not be the subject of politics,” he said.

Around 250,000 tourists annually used to travel to Cyprus with Thomas Cook and generate revenue of €187 million. In 2018, tourists traveling to Cyprus with Thomas Cook accounted for around six per cent to seven per cent of total arrivals of four million people.

According to Moody’s rating agency, the effect on Cyprus may be less pronounced than in Bulgaria and Greece, because companies affiliated with Thomas Cook that bring a large number of tourists to the island currently appear not to be affected by the company`s collapse.

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