Turkish Cypriot economists fear a “blow” to the north’s tourism industry after Turkey introduced new regulations on overseas credit card spending for its citizens.

On Monday night, Turkey’s Banking regulation and supervision agency announced that all credit card expenses related to airlines, travel agencies, and accommodation outside the country would now no longer be able to be paid in instalments.

Turkish citizens make up the majority of tourists in the north, and this new regulation is expected to reduce the numbers of Turkish citizens making the journey.

With costs now expected to be paid up front, many Turkish citizens could find themselves priced out of overseas travel, including to the north.

This, according to Turkish Cypriot economists, is expected to leave a dent in the north’s tourism industry, while some are predicting that its education sector could also take a hit, with Turkish students unable to afford to travel to the north for their studies.

In addition, economists are worried about the impact the decision may have on Turkish Cypriots who have accounts with Turkish banks.

Many Turkish banks have branches in the north, and it is feared that Turkish Cypriots who bank with those companies may be effectively unable to use their credit cards for a range of purchases.

Economist Mehmet Saydam called on “all businesses, agencies, and sectors which gather economic momentum from the tourism sector should gather immediately and demand this decision be corrected”. He called on Turkey to add an appendage to the decision, making an exception for the north.