What many people in the world at large may not know about the Island of Cyprus is that it is virtually divided into two countries, though not recognized officially. The South Cyprus inhabited by the Greek Cypriots and the North Cyprus dominated by the Turkish Cypriots. The official name of North Cyprus is Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Except Turkey, the international community considers Northern Cyprus an occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus.
In many ways, North Cyprus is different from its Southern counterpart. Ethnicity of people living in the North is predominantly Turkish, speaking the Turkish tongue, while in the South it is Greek. It is a Euro free zone. The local currency is Turkish Lira (TL). This makes living costs in North almost 30% cheaper, considering Purchase Power Parity (PPP), than in the South or other countries of the Eurozone. Northern Cyprus is dependent quite heavily on Turkey for its economic and trade needs. Though there are political and diplomatic frictions between the South and the North, the border between the two halves is not given to too many restrictions. Just a valid passport and a simple Visa form will get a person from the South to North.
Due to various reasons and the fact that cost of living is cheaper than in the South and English speaking ability of locals, Cyprus is a services industry heavy territory, contributing almost 70% to the GDP. This includes trade, education, tourism and the public sector.
Tourism is one of the main stays of North Cyprus. Because of the endemic topography of the region, pleasant weather, golden beaches along the Mediterranean, lower costs, and most important of all, entrepreneurial zeal of the locals, tourism contributes greatly to Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. With the region enjoying over 300 days of sunny days in a year, pleasant spring and autumn, temperatures never raising above 34 degrees during the peak of summers, it attracts a lot of tourists, particularly from the wintry UK. The region has over 20 sandy beaches along the Mediterranean. Hinterlands are dotted by glorious mountains, covered by pine forests.
There are many well-appointed hotels ranging from 5-star hotels to well-kept and cost effective budget hotels and self-catering bungalows in holiday villages. There are many holiday villas for vacation rentals, that are spacious and well-appointed, many having their own private pools. North Cyprus dishes out a wide range of cuisine, from traditional Turkish to continental, catered by international standard, award-winning restaurants. Northern Cyprus is a mini French Riviera at a fraction of the cost.
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