Cyprus's national airline, Cyprus Airways, has reduced its previous charge of EUR35 for carrying sports equipment on flights. After the change, any sports equipment of less than 15 kg will be transported free of charge.
The measure was well received by Cypriot tourism organizations, and was acclaimed as a means to boost sports tourism in the region. One of the main beneficiaries of the change may be the golf industry in Cyprus. Many tourists already travel to the country on a golf trip, and with the reduced costs of such vacations, the numbers can only increase.
The routes affected by the elimination of the fare are flights to and from Paphos and the Larnaca International Airport from London, Manchester, Frankfurt, Munich, Paris, Milan and Rome.
Cyprus has become one of the most popular golf destinations in Europe. The climate and the quality of the golf courses have made a very attractive perspective for golf fans.
With flight prices from London to Paphos ranging from around £ 50 to £ 125 in May with Cyprus Airways, the EUR35 (approximately £ 30) is a relatively significant discount.
The Cypriot government is the majority shareholder of the airline, with just under 70% of the shares. This has been the case since 2006, when the airline faced serious financial problems. As such, it makes sense that the owners do everything possible to promote higher levels of tourism in the country, which theoretically will provide a boost to the economy, as well as help improve the profitability of the company.
In addition to the benefits that are felt within golf communities, other sports such as football and hockey could also benefit from reduced rates. Due to its attractive climate, Cyprus is often found as a summer training base for football teams in northern and central Europe. As such, the absence of a team charge would be attractive to teams looking to travel to the area, often with a load of training equipment.
Hockey is also a popular sport in Cyprus, with the Cyprus Hockey Association responsible for organizing all the major tournaments in the country. For any foreign player, traveling to Cyprus with hockey teams would have previously incurred the charge of EUR35, so the recent development will certainly be well received by those traveling hockey players.
Despite the other possible beneficiaries of the change, it seems that the Cyprus golf courses will be the main institutions affected in this case. With golf tourism as a true money generator in the region, this must have been the main focus of the decision to withdraw the charge.