Restoration works have begun on the ancient port of Kyrenia, Turkish Cypriot news sources announced on Friday.

According to the news sources water supply, sewage, electricity and telephone infrastructure will be upgraded.

Restoration, maintenance and repair of building facades is underway, the publication states, with the removal of wooden structures and other makeshift constructions built over the years in front of restaurants and cafes.

The port will remain closed during the works, which are targeted for completion by the start of the 2023 summer season. In order to support closed businesses during the project period, a grant of 2,840,000 TL will be given, according to the number of registered staff each business employs.

The final stage of the project will include privatisation of the sea area of the Kyrenia harbour.

‘Tourism Minister’ Fikri Ataoglu, in statements to the Ankara Anatolia (AA) news agency, said that in addition to expanding the port itself, the goal is to set up two cable cars, running from Kyrenia to St Hilarion castle, golf courses, and marinas for yachts.

Bids for tenders for the construction of a new port in Famagusta will be announced, as well as for the creation of a marina to serve smaller yachts in Kazivera, he said.

Ataoglu also stated that sports tourism will be given a boost through the construction of “four to five golf courses, at least three in the Vokolida area.”

By end of September, 1.2m tourists had arrived in the north, Ataoglu claimed.

“The occupancy rate in our hotels is very high. During the summer season the daily number of planes arriving in our country was five, at the moment it is 13-15. Our goal is to make the TRNC a place that will host tourists for 12 months [of the year]. We have reached the numbers we had before the pandemic,” he concluded.