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Gloom for tourism sector in the north despite uptick

The fishermen were taken to Kyrenia

The tourist season in the north is expected to be better than the two previous years, despite the suppressed number of arrivals, with the general notion being that things could be worse, according to a number of sector stakeholders.

In a report by Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Duzen, hoteliers association president Dimag Caginer said that many foreign tourists prefer to travel to Larnaca airport before crossing over to the north, rather than flying to Tymbou airport directly.

He added that the financial crisis and high air travel costs have resulted in a decreased inflow of tourists from Turkey.

‘Undersecretary of the ministry of tourism and environment’ Serhan Aktunc said that expensive flight tickets are the biggest issue for the sector.

In addition, the difficult financial situation for many has reduced the number of locals booking stays at local hotels.

However, due to the Ramadan taking place next month, many hotels have still managed to reach an occupancy rate of 80 per cent.

In addition, Caginer said that hotels are also challenged by higher operational costs.

Moreover, Turkish Cypriot tourism and travel agency association president Orhan Tolun said that 30 hotels remain shuttered.

He added that there is some movement in tourist arrivals from Turkey but visitors from other markets are lower than normal.

He also said that visitor numbers were suppressed during Eid but hoped that things improve in July.

For travel agents, he explained, the situation is more challenging because there are no foreign tourists, with one of the key reasons being the aforementioned travel costs.

Finally, he noted that beyond the bigger hotel-casinos, other hotels will struggle to reach an occupancy rate of 50 per cent.

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