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Tourism was the most important source of foreign currency in the late 1980s, earning US$118 million in l988 and US$126.8 million in 1989. The "TRNC" had direct air and sea links only to Turkey because this country alone recognized it as an independent nation. Despite this handicap, the number of foreign tourists from countries other than Turkey increased substantially in the late 1980s, as did the foreign exchange they brought with them.

The number of tourists coming to the "TRNC" tripled during the 1980s, from 87,000 in 1981 to 310,000 in 1990. About 20 percent of the tourists were from countries other than Turkey. The number of tourist beds approximately doubled during the 1980s, to more than 7,000 by 1990. Tourism became a year-round business, with a professional staff trained at the Hotel and Catering Training Center at Kyrenia. This facility was under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. A range of accommodations was available, from campsites to luxury hotels. Tourism was expected to continue to grow in the 1990s.

The expansion of tourism was especially noticeable in the late l980s. Earnings more than tripled between 1986 and 1989. This increase was a result of the government's decision in late l986 to make tourism the locomotive that would pull the entire economy. To promote the tourism industry and attract foreign investment in it, the government introduced a number of incentives, including longterm , low-cost leases on government-owned land and buildings, exemption of many goods serving tourism from import duties, and exemption or moderation of some taxes.

Data as of January 1991