Travellers heading to Greece this summer will have to dig deep into their pockets as the price of airline tickets soars and there is little indication of an imminent launch of a ferry link.
According to Cyprus-Greece Business Association president Iosif Iosif, a return airline ticket to Athens in August can set you back €689.98. The fare to Thessaloniki can be as high as €507.98 he said.
Iosif said that the problem with the high price of airline tickets to Greece has become more acute over the summer and that the association had received complaints that prices were exorbitantly high.
Capacity offered by all the airlines who offer routes to Greece cannot cover demand as he estimates that about 500,000 Cypriots travel to Greece annually. To these numbers must be added Greek travellers to Cyprus.
Tables distributed by Iosif (see below) give an indication of some of these prices.
High prices are discouraging travel and having an adverse effect on business ties and tourism, he said adding that the association has proposals to increase capacity and help push prices down.
- Increasing the number of flights, giving incentives to foreign airlines to offer flights between Cyprus, Athens and Thessaloniki
- Contacting airlines that fly to the two Greek cities to stop over in Cyprus.
- Reducing airport taxes for flights between Cyprus and Greece
Iosif also highlighted the need to speed up procedures to re-introduce a ferry link. Currently, a study is underway on this link and Iosif said that once it has finished efforts should be made to place the link within an EU programme.
Chairman of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry Christodoulos Angastiniotis said airline ticket prices to Greece were unacceptably high. He noted that the price of tickets to other European destinations were half the price and urged the Transport Ministry to examine the issue.
Theodoros Thalasinos of the Greek Tourism Organisation said that the tourism board wanted to see an increase in visitors between Cyprus and Greece and was concerned by the high cost of airline tickets.
Association of Cyprus Travel Agents president Vasilis Stamataris acknowledged that tickets were expensive but said that travellers who planned well ahead can still find cheap tickets.