A $200 million scheme to create one of the eastern Mediterranean’s biggest yacht harbours in Girne been unveiled by Tourism Minister Faiz Sucuoğlu as his “flagship” project.
Plans are now being drawn up for the marina which will accommodate between 800 and 1,000 boats and could create up to 1,000 jobs, says the minister. International investors from Turkey, the UK, Jordan and northern Iraq are said to be interested in the “build-operate-transfer” project, although local and tourism figures have responded cautiously.
Dr Sucuoğlu said consultations with architects and technicians have been going on for four months to expand yacht moorings all along the shore between the old and new harbours by extending the existing sea wall.
He is also pursuing the prospect of a further expansion to accommodate cruise ships, having been encouraged by a “renowned cruise line” based in Antalya that “when we have such a port, irrespective of any embargo on our country, they will include North Cyprus in their itinerary”.
Dr Sucuoğlu said: “Having a mega-port for Girne has long been the dream of many, but we are honoured to have actually started work to draw up my flagship project. The port will have cafés, yacht maintenance services, hotels and we are even thinking of having tour guides on site.
“We want yachties to have easy access into Girne town… [which] will come alive with economic activity. Property prices will be pushed up, tourism will be massively increased and hotel prices will increase instantly by 5-10 euros to start with.
“We estimate that there will be 1,000 new jobs created, arising either directly or indirectly from the project.”
Officials are now researching the status of the land along the coastline, with a view to taking the project to the next stage.
By Kerem Hasan for Cyprus Today