New TRNC government statistics have seen tourism rising significantly in the last 12 months – with increased numbers arriving from diverse areas including Europe(France and Germany both up by 25%), North America (Canada and USA up by 10 and 20%), Scandinavia (Finland up by 50%) even new arrivals from China (up by 18%)!
The reasons for this are easy to see: North Cyprus possesses a unique character and varied tourism experience – able to meet the needs of all types of tourist. As a revitalising getaway it is second to none with fabulous beach and mountain scenery, miles and miles of unspoilt beaches and countryside in the Karpaz, Kayalar and Lefke areas available for rest and relaxation and now with state of the art health clubs and even brand new hospitals offering health tourism. Accommodation options are huge – from local agro-tourism farmhouses and B and Bs right up to 5 star hotels and casinos in the capital Nicosia and the tourist capital, Kyrenia. Brand new leisure facilities, such as the Korineum Golf Club and the Karpaz Gate Marina have sprung up over just the last few years. Crime is almost non-existent, with the TRNC having one of the lowest crime rates in the general European area. The exchange rates are favourable, making accommodation, leisure activities and eating out extremely inexpensive.
An Undiscovered Paradise
The increase in tourism this year, shows that more and more are discovering North Cyprus – traditionally known by those living there as “the best kept secret” of the Mediterranean! However, in the past the TRNC has been much emptier than other similar tourism destinations, owing to the happy accident of history which has enabled to North Cyprus free from the overdevelopment which has in some ways spoilt other Mediterranean coastlines Given the incredible array of natural and cultural attractions that this land offers, one may well wonder what still attracts so many more tourists to the more frequented Spanish Coasts or Greek islands in preference to the mountains and wild beauty of Northern Cyprus. It is often a great treat to go “off the beaten track” to find hidden gems rather than always following the masses. Walking, bird watching, orchid tours and many other wildlife hobbies all find specialist tours and travel companies available for the TRNC market.
North Cyprus is famous for its long stretches of unspoilt sandy beaches on the Karpaz, North West and Eastern coastlines. The uniqueness of these beaches lies in their excellent water and sand quality, as well as the degree of safety tourists benefit from whilst swimming, diving, or enjoying water-sports. In 2013, the TRNC was awarded a record number of Blue Flags. One of the most iconic beaches is the Karpas Golden Beach – one of the most beautiful in Europe. Turtle watchers can enjoy night-time hatching expeditions on many beaches which are specially protected as Turtle hatching zones.
Healthcare and tourism
The TRNC is generally a place where newcomers arrive to improve their health or for health tourism at one of the excellent new hospitals – so don’t worry about your trip from the healthcare point of view. Although North Cyprus is still technically out of the official European healthcare system, there is excellent medical care available privately at extremely low rates. If visiting do bear in mind that it does get very hot in the summer months – up to 38 degrees C in July and August. So if you decide to visit North Cyprus at this time then be sure to drink an adequate amount of bottled water (tap water is generally not drunk in the TRNC). The food is healthy and excellent and you can safely eat at any restaurant or cafe where European standards of food preparation are generally followed. If you do happen to fall ill on your trip – be reassured that most common prescription drugs can be purchased over the counter and all pharmacists and Doctors speak English.