Until recently Booking.com were advertising 130 luxury hotels, apartments, guesthouses, boutique hotels and eco hotels but now list only 16 hotels in North Cyprus. The reason given for this reduction, according to the company, is:
“because Booking.com is a European-based company, we are subject to the regulations of other EU member states and are therefore prohibited from doing business with certain properties in northern Cyprus.”
In other words they are refusing to advertise hotels which are on land abandoned by Greek Cypriots in 1974. They are using the excuse that there is an EU regulation which prevents this. If this is true then Booking.com competitors would have followed suit. Well, Laterooms.com are advertising 18 hotels in the Kyrenia area alone and they are not the same ones. For example, they are advertising Oscar Resort Hotel and Booking.com are not.
Trivago.com amazingly are advertising 140 hotels in the Kyrenia area, surely in direct confrontation of this EU regulation that Booking.com has imagined. To me it looks as if Greek/Greek Cypriot influence has yet again been brought to bear in an attempt to damage the north’s economy in the hope they they would more easily compromise in the Cyprus negotiations.
A threat to force Booking.com to replace the missing hotels has been met with scorn by Orhan Tolun of the Cyprus Turkish Hoteliers Union.
“How can we force a private company to advertise places they choose not to advertise? Is it not the company’s prerogative?”
While undoubtedly the Booking.com ban would affect a few bookings, in reality if someone decides to come to North Cyprus, and decides to use the internet, then they will find hotels by typing ‘North Cyprus Hotels’ in Google and will have more than enough links to choose from.