Deputy Prime Minister, Tourism, Culture, Youth and Environment Minister Fikri Ataoğlu stated that the attempts made in the past to make Ercan be treated like domestic flights in Turkey aimed to reduce ticket prices, but were perceived differently, and announced that they would make official contacts and initiatives in this regard in the coming period.
Noting that they will start winter tourism this month, Ataoğlu stated that they aim to bring 100 thousand tourists by the end of the year within the scope of winter tourism, which will be interrupted in the summer and will start again after the summer.
Pointing out that an initiative has been initiated to establish a new airline company, Ataoğlu said that he will hold a meeting in Antalya on March 11 regarding the establishment of this company.
Noting that they also have projects related to alternative tourism models, Ataoğlu announced that models such as Congress – Meeting Tourism and Sports Tourism are on the agenda.
Expressing his belief that the UBP – DP – YDP Coalition will be long-lasting, Ataoğlu said, “Our goal is to see the completion of the projects we have started.”
Deputy Prime Minister, Tourism, Culture, Youth and Environment Minister Fikri Ataoğlu answered the questions of the Turkish Agency Cyprus (TAK) correspondent.
Expressing his belief that the UBP – DP – YDP Coalition Government will be long-lasting, Ataoğlu said, “Our goal is to see the completion of the projects we have started. The Prime Minister has set a 5-year target for the government. We always said so. Our citizens are tired of these issues. If the government is long-lived, we will have a chance to realize our projects. It is not very possible for us to implement projects in short-lived governments, we have already experienced this in the past,” he said.
“Since EVERYONE CAN’T BE A MINISTER…”
Emphasizing that 50 deputies should work in unity and solidarity for the benefit of the people, Ataoğlu said that some deputies who had expectations while the government was being formed might be disappointed, saying, “But since not everyone can be a minister, they should work on how they can best contribute to the law in the Parliament. ” said.
“Of course, IT IS ESSENTIAL TO FINISH THE THEATER BUILDING IMMEDIATELY”
Explaining the projects on culture and youth that were added under the roof of the Ministry of Culture and youth this term, Ataoğlu noted that it is essential to finish the Cyprus Turkish State Theater building, which was burned in the past years.
Expressing that the TRNC is under embargoes, but art does not recognize an embargo, Ataoğlu noted that they will support activities in the field of culture and art as much as they can.
Revealing the fact that artists are being ignored in the country, Ataoğlu explained that they are planning to exhibit their works by including local artists in the stands to be set up in international fairs in the upcoming period.
“WE ARE STARTING WINTER TOURISM THIS MONTH”
Explaining that they aim in tourism, Ataoğlu stated that the problems in entering the country within the scope of the measures implemented due to the pandemic were almost overcome after the meetings with the Ministry of Health.
Reminding that as of today, vaccinated people can enter the country without PCR and non-vaccinated people can enter the country without quarantine with PCR, Ataoğlu emphasized that the importance of tourism for the country’s economy was realized during the pandemic period.
“If our country’s budget deficit is due to tourism, which we all accept, then tourism should be developed. If there are lands given for construction on our tourism areas and there is no construction on those lands, they should be canceled and given to real investors. Because some places were given to individuals or companies, but no investments were made for many years. If we say that the majority of our income is tourism, we need to present all the possibilities. We need to ensure that the existing areas are built, and we need to create other areas and expand the tourism leg as much as we can.”
Noting that they will start winter tourism this month, Ataoğlu said that they aim to bring 100 thousand tourists by the end of the year within the scope of winter tourism, which will be interrupted in the summer and will start again after the summer. Noting that they aim to bring tourists from Russia with a meeting to be held in mid-March, Ataoğlu stated that Azerbaijan is also among the target audience.
Ataoğlu explained that with tourism, they want to make the citizens smile again and allow the producers to consume their products.
“OUR TOURISM ORGANIZATIONS STAKEHOLDERS… WE ARE CONTINUOUS TO MEET”
Explaining that they are in consultation with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey, Ataoğlu said, “With their contributions, we have the chance to publish our advertisements. Recently, we had advertisements about Northern Cyprus on TV in England. We have observed that this has positive returns” and stated that they will give serious importance to the promotions in different provinces of Turkey.
Emphasizing that tourism organizations are their stakeholders, Ataoğlu said, “We are in constant contact with our stakeholders. We always work together,” he said.
“WE WILL START OFFICIAL CONTACTS AND INITIATIVES FOR ERCAN AIRPORT TO BE TREATED ON DOMESTIC LINES”
Pointing to the attempts made in the past to treat Ercan Airport as domestic flights in Turkey, Ataoğlu stated that these were perceived differently. Emphasizing that they aim to make flight tickets cheaper with this initiative regarding Ercan Airport, Ataoğlu said, “Today we are doing these studies again. We will start official contacts and initiatives in the coming days,” he said.
“WORKS WILL BE STARTED FOR THE FOUNDATION OF A NEW AIRLINE COMPANY”
Stating that necessary studies will be started in public-private cooperation for the establishment of a new airline company, Ataoğlu said that he knows the company that aspires to this company well and that he spoke by phone. Ataoğlu also announced that he will meet with the said company on March 11 in Antalya.
“AFTER MEHMETÇİK ZONING PLAN IS COMPLETED, WE WILL SEE ALTERNATIVE TOURISM MODELS IN BAFRA”
Ataoğlu stated that the share of 5-star hotels in the number of facilities was 61 percent, and when asked about their projects for the development of alternative tourism models, Ataoğlu said, “Our 5-star places are of course more valuable than the other. We were already continuing this work. We will continue in the future,” he said.
Emphasizing the importance of bringing historical places and places that are about to disappear in villages to tourism, Ataoğlu stated that models such as Congress – Meeting Tourism and Sports Tourism are on the agenda.
Providing information about the project that will come to life in Bafra after the Mehmetçik Zoning Plan is published, Ataoğlu said, “After the Mehmetçik Zoning Plan is completed, we will see alternative tourism models there. It is a project that will include golf and football fields, entertainment venues, restaurants, and fast ship transportation between Bafra and Famagusta. These will come to life after the Mehmetçik Zoning Plan is published. The main thing is to prepare the infrastructure before working on any alternative model. This study is detailed. It is clear where the entertainment venues and fields will be. It is also clear where the ship will depart from,” he said.
Ataoğlu also stated that they will start working on reorganizing the Girne Antique Port, Girne Tourism Port and Famagusta Port with models financed by the investor. He informed that they aim to go out to tender by applying to the Tender Commission.
“CONTINUOUS WASTE WATER MONITORING SYSTEM WILL BE CONNECTED TO ALL TREATMENTS ONLINE”
Minister Fikri Ataoğlu stated that they will also carry out serious studies regarding the environment and said that the Continuous Wastewater Monitoring System (SAİS) was established and they were working in Bafra as a buffer zone. Explaining that they aim to make SAIS, the online monitoring system of wastewater treatment plants’ discharges, spread throughout the country, Ataoğlu said, “In the coming days, we will connect the continuous waste monitoring system to all treatments online, and we will ensure that any malfunction in the treatment is notified and intervened in advance, and then there is no pollution in the seas. ” said.
“ENVIRONMENTAL LESSON WILL BE IN THE CURRICULUM FOR ALL CLASSES NEXT YEAR”
Ataoğlu also said that the “Environmental Education Support Guidelines” developed within the scope of the Project for Dissemination of Environmental Education carried out under the cooperation protocol signed with the Ministry of National Education and Culture and implemented in pilot schools will continue.
Reminding that the environment lesson was included in the curriculum of the 9th grades in 2017, Ataoğlu stated that this was not enough and emphasized the necessity for children from primary school to university age to receive environmental education. Ataoğlu said, “This course will be in the curriculum of all classes next year. This year, certain places have been selected as buffer zones and teachers and students there are trained.
Explaining that the Environment Department, local governments and non-governmental organizations carry out environmental cleaning every Thursday throughout the island as an exemplary behavior, Ataoğlu said, “I’m sorry to say, when we look at the cleaned place a week later, we see it as if it wasn’t cleaned a week ago,” pointing to the importance of environmental education.
Explaining that they will make legal arrangements for the environment and tourism such as “environmental police” and “tourism police”, Ataoğlu stated that they have many similar studies related to the environment.
WE WILL WORK TO MEET THE NEEDS IN THE QUARRIES FROM A PLACE”
Stating that they will work to ensure that the mines and quarries in the country have a sustainable structure with models and criteria compatible with the environment, Ataoğlu noted that most of the quarries can be closed and the remaining ones can be moved somewhere. Ataoğlu reiterated that they will work to meet the need from one place, and said, “We want the rest of them to be rehabilitated, afforested, and greened to reintegrate into society.”
Ataoğlu stated that they are also working on the recycling of rubble waste, and noted that they aim to obtain materials to be used in infrastructure works from rubble waste.
“SHOPPING BAG USAGE HAS INCREASED AGAIN”
Addressing the environmental pollution caused by shopping bags, Ataoğlu said that they will work to remove the bags completely.
Reminding that shopping bags were charged in December 2018, Ataoğlu said that there was a 60-65% decrease in their use at that time, but that they are still used at a rate close to what it was in the past. Ataoğlu, who connects the re-increase in the use of shopping bags to lack of control, said that they are working to remove the bags completely.
“COAL, FUEL OIL AND SULFUR ANALYSIS CAN BE DONE IN THE COUNTRY”
Ataoğlu also noted that they started work to establish a laboratory where coal, fuel oil and sulfur analyzes would be carried out during the last government period, and stated that the work has come to the final stage and the laboratory will be put into practice in a short time. Ataoğlu explained that by this means, coal, fuel oil and sulfur analyzes can now be done in the country.
RUSSIA – UKRAINE TENSION…
Talking about the possible effects of the tension between Russia and Ukraine on the country’s tourism, Ataoğlu said, “We are watching the tension between Russia and Ukraine with regret. Our hope is that it will end soon. We hope that it will come to an end and will not affect the next process. We will monitor the developments,” he said.
Noting that a fair is planned in Russia on March 15, Ataoğlu stated that he does not know whether this fair will be held after the developments. Ataoğlu also wished for the tension to end in a short time and the fair to be held.