Image by Tcp0203 (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons.  Accessed 22.01.18


The higher end of the tourist sector in the TRNC, i.e. luxury hotels and casinos, is predominantly controlled by Turkish and Turkish Cypriot businessmen. Although investment in hotels and casino’s is viewed as the most profitable, a new trend has been emerging over recent years as a result of the growing popularity of Internet platforms, such as Airbnb or These tools are ostensibly creating a grey economy, where local citizens are realising additional income by placing their homes or rooms for let.

This new ‘informal’ tourist economy is unlikely to challenge the monopolistic nature of the traditional sector, and the businessmen who control it. Thus, despite the emergence of new trends that are altering the shape of tourism in the TRNC, this analysis focuses on understanding the factors that have enabled certain Turkish and Turkish Cypriot businessmen a monopoly over the tourist sector, to the detriment of other international interests.


  • The TRNC suffers from structural deficiencies, which are exacerbated by the jurisdictions’ relatively complex domestic economy. Because it is only recognised by Turkey as a country, the TRNC remains dependent on Ankara. This has provided Turkish businessmen access to commercial opportunities in the TRNC that are otherwise closed off to other foreign investors.
  • The development of the tourist industry has been limited because of these political ‘realities’, combined with limited access to water and energy resources.
  • If the status quo remains, international investors are unlikely to find a gap in the TRNC tourist market, while Turkish businessmen will likely maintain their monopoly.