Since mid-July the newly re-operating ferry link between Cyprus and Greece, revived after a hiatus of 21 years, has been extremely well-received, shipping deputy minister Vassilis Demetriades said on Tuesday.
Speaking to CyBC radio, he said the high interest of holidaymakers is evidenced by the fact that over 6,000 passengers have used the service so far, and by season’s completion 9,000 passengers are expected to have done so, as well as 2,500 vehicles.
Sounding a note of cautious optimism, Demetriades said the numbers were impressive but it was important to iron out any glitches, improve services where possible, and make the ferry a sustainable enterprise which can hold out beyond the six-year EU subsidisation period.
To this end, Demetriades said, he sought feedback and impressions from passengers last week and though responses were overwhelmingly positive, with only around 15-20 complaints, some areas for improvement have been identified, mainly to do with speeding up port processing procedures.
Asked about future viability, Demetriades raised the possibility of expanding the ferry service to other destinations, such as Israel, and promoting religious tourism.
As regards the cruise industry, Demetriades expressed satisfaction at the targeted measures employed by the tourism, transport and shipping authorities, as a result of which, he said, prominent cruise companies now have Cyprus on their radar.
Not only the Limassol port, but also the Larnaca and Ayia Napa ports have good prospects to benefit economically from this industry, Demetriades concluded.