Minister of Tourism and Environment Fikri Ataoğlu said that following negotiations to increase the number of flights in the country, President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has ordered the permanent deployment of an aircraft of AnadoluJet to Cyprus. 

AnadoluJet, which is connected to Turkish Airlines, will start its day in TRNC with a new aircraft.  Ataoğlu said in a television program that he participated in the meeting, and THY-AnadoluJet will start new flights in the coming days.

Ataoğlu emphasized that they had made many attempts to increase the number of flights against the economic crisis and exorbitant prices of tickets.  Studies to increase the number of flights of THY resulted in an increase from six to seven.  Now there is an eighth addition, he said.

Tourism season of movement of passengers exceeded the record which is reflected in the increase of the work which has been carried out for Turkey and abroad. Tourism and promotions that have been made under the Ministry of Tourism and Environment name and Turkish Airlines increased the number of tourists coming to the TRNC following participation in the International Fair.

Ataoglu said that in general the hotel occupancy rate was 70%. In fact, looking at 5 star and luxury hotels, it can be seen that the occupancy rate is between 90% and 100%. 5-star hotels are expected to be 100% full for the winter season, based on the number of beds.

Ataoğlu stated that they have worked with the agencies to increase the occupancy rates in the village hostels and other hotels and said in the coming period, we will be sending many tourists to such places. When we achieve this, occupancy rates across the TRNC will reach 90%.

Most tourists come from England and Germany and Ataoglu said that the number of tourists from other countries is insufficient.  There is a need to bring more tourists to the country and we are constantly searching how to attract more tourists to the island. When we look at the number of beds that are available in our newly opened hotels, we need to look for new solutions to close this gap.

In January, Turkish Airlines will work together with our agencies and stakeholders to bring tourists from different countries, said Ataoğlu.

We will have bilateral talks with agencies in Scandinavian countries. We are trying to bring tourists from Scandinavian countries especially as our season and climate are attractive, because even with the coldest winter day, it feels like summer.  Our work is not limited to this. Taking into account the number of tourists coming to our country with the flights and the charter flights of the agencies, we are coming together with our stakeholders and making extensive studies.

Ataoglu said that they wanted to bring in large-body aircraft to ease passenger flow but the existing runway is not suitable for large body aircraft and we could not take this risk.  He also said that the new airport will be completed by the end of 2019 and at this time the runway will be suitable for large-body aircraft which will be able to come to the new airport and will also be reflected in ticket prices.

Speaking about boutique hotels opened in Nicosia and Alsancak recently with the participation of the public, Ataoğlu said  “We are especially focused on our work in the city walls.  As a Ministry, we give credit to this place.  When we look at all the restored buildings they are all full and everyone is happy.”

Ataoglu also explained about the employment of a local labour force and said: We opened OTEM which had been closed for many years in order to increase domestic employment in tourism. These young people will have a guarantee after completing their studies at OTEM. In OTEM, we are trying to eliminate the deficit which we have with qualified personnel.

There are around 19% of the young unemployed in our country. We continue our efforts to adapt these citizens to tourism. If a salary of 3,000TL is given to a person who is a citizen of TRNC, we will pay 1000TL for the high school graduate and 1500TL for the university graduate. In other words, while receiving 3,000TL, this can be increased to a salary of 4,000TL with our contributions. This will encourage young people to participate in the tourism sector.