Greek Cypriot government “is taking the north out of economic isolation”

larnacaIt was that quote in the south’s Financial Mirror which led me to thinking about the gradual failure of attempts to economically isolate the north. The complaint is that the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism through the Cyprus Tourism Organisation spends millions of Euros in “bonus plans” paid to tour operators who land tourists at Larnaca and Paphos airports. This bonus is paid to the tour operators based on the number of passengers arriving at the airports or as a payment for advertising campaigns in the country of origin. Yet somehow it had been overlooked that many of these passengers then travel on to north Cyprus, either independently or were bused either by tour operators such as Thomas Cook and Thomson – TUI or by the hotels in the north.

This has never been a secret as just a quick glance round the arrivals gate at Larnaca airport reveals taxi drivers holding up signs with names such as “Riverside Hotel – Kyrenia.” As long as the crossings to the north are open there is no way to control who visits the north. This means that in the last few years, and for the foreseeable future, tourists are being subsidised by Greek Cypriots taxpayers’ money to spend their holidays in the north. So the opening, title is true, and because the Greek Cypriots are actually paying to bring tourists to the north who, because of the lengthy alternative journey, might have stayed in the south they are also reducing there own tourism industry!

Read the whole article in the Financial Mirror

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