A record number of Greek Cypriots crossing at the checkpoints to the north has eclipsed the Ercan (Tymbou) airport in importance, according to Turkish Cypriot media.
Diyalog reported that for the first six months of 2023 the number of people arriving on flights was at 779,000 while from the checkpoints the figure was at 2,428,000 – with the latter “excluding citizens of the TRNC”, it said, referring to the breakaway region.
It further stated the statistics show that the checkpoints have become much more important than the airport and the ports.
The trend of significantly increased activity at the crossing points was also reported by Yeni Bakis, carried by the press and information office (PIO), which stated that it increased by 21.54 per cent during the first eight months of 2023 compared to the previous year.
The overall number crossings by foreigners into the north was reported at 3,492,726 of which Greek Cypriots accounted for 2,043,555.
The ‘tourism ministry’ added that the number of Turkish Cypriots crossings was recorded at 1,620,180.
It further added that Brits and Greeks accounted for a significant number of those crossing, while Romanians surpassed Bulgarian citizens in terms of crossings.
Shop and other business owners in northern Nicosia told Diyalog that there has been a business boost for them due to the increased traffic, with calls on the ‘government’ to press for more checkpoints to be opened.