Cyprus’ new ferry link with Greece creates great potential for maritime tourism between the two countries, deputy minister of shipping, Vassilios Demetriades said on Friday.

Speaking at a press conference at the embassy of Cyprus in Athens, Demetriades said that the ferry link would start operating on June 19 and expressed the hope that people will embrace this latest transport connection between the the two countries. “Let us not forget that there are over 50,000 Greeks who want to visit their relatives living in Cyprus,” he said.

The maritime connection between Cyprus and Greece has been inactive since 2000.

The ferry link will be seasonal and subsidised by the Cypriot government for the next three years at a cost of €16.5 million, following negotiation and approval by the EU. The service will last until September 16, with four trips scheduled for June, eight in July, seven in August and three in September.

The cheapest return tickets for adults, with a simple seating arrangement, are set at €76 while a second-class cabin return ticket is at €80. The respective one-way tickets cost €38 and €40.

VIP cabin return tickets are set to cost €160 for a return and €80 one-way.

Children aged 4-12 will be charged €56 for are a return, while those aged up to four will be charged €31. Cars up to five metres in size will be charged €203 return, a motorbike €125 and pets €100 (if in a cabin, otherwise €70 if in a kennel).

The tender was won by Scandro Holding Ltd with an offer of €15,594,000, with the ship servicing the ferry link having a capacity for 400 passengers and 100 vehicles.

There will be 38 first class cabins, 68 second-class cabins, 110 seats and 100 vehicle spots.

Following the failure to attract any bids with the first competition that closed on January 29 this year, the government has raised the subsidy by €500,000 to €5.5m and cut the number of return trips to 22 instead of 31.

Also, in the new competition, the period for the trips is reduced to between April or May until September or October, instead of 31 trips on a weekly or biweekly basis throughout the year.

The maiden ferry link will set sail on Sunday June 19, at 12 noon from Limassol port and will dock at Piraeus at 6 pm on Monday June 20.