Today we have special treat for you. A rather personal insight into our Managing Director’s personal background, business life, and vision. We asked and he delivered… read on 🙂
My Story… Crossing The Green Line And Beyond.
As a child, I have always been connected to Cyprus. Having been born and grown up in the UK with my British roots, it never deterred me in thinking of this small but gorgeous place. Maybe it was the many long holidays I had here, in the agricultural area of Guzelyurt (Morphou), or the dream of living in the sun, with the friendly and laid back attitude of the people.
Scene in North Cyprus
Growing up this passion for North Cyprus grew with me, and my vision of living and working here was realised when I established Direct Traveller. Not quite living and working there… but at least one foot is now always there. Coming and going, meeting new people, working with the Cypriots. Taking in the sunshine (when we get a chance), and seeing my many family members and friends there.
Studying business, focusing on international business, and producing a dissertation on establishing a tour operator in north Cyprus, gave me plenty of scope and time to research and develop a product that would fit the needs of British public. This development however planned it was, was outshone when the borders of north Cyprus and Southern Cyprus opened for the first time. A surprise for everyone, it was the real start of Direct Traveller and where we have come today.
Crossing the Border
Late 2003 the borders of North Cyprus and Southern Cyprus were officially opened. At this time there was an influx of local people crossing the borders to see the land they grew up in. This was no different to my family, who originally was from Polemidia (aka Binatli) in Limassol.
I remember the day they crossed through, the memories and the people they saw; the simple things that moved them emotionally, such as the smell of their old Fig tree that was planted by my late grandfather in their citrus groves. The feeling they got when they once again saw the endless view of their vineyards, and their Carob groves.
They had left a lot behind, and were always thinking about this. Another amazing moment was when they met their old neighbours, and they welcomed them to their homes after 30 years. The moments they shared with the people that knew their parents and saw them grow up as children.
Crossing through the borders, was so unclear at the time of the first opening. People were being told they could cross until sunset by one policeman at the border checkpoint, others were being told they need to come back by midnight. Some people were staying over for a day or two and crossing back over. The shear confusion and the scale of the change at the time meant one thing for Cypriots. It was a time of opportunity, a time of accessibility and a sign of things to come and a hope for the future.
One opportunity that I personally saw immediately was that of accessibility. While people who travelled to North Cyprus were deemed to have to travel via Turkey, this border opening meant a real opportunity. People could now travel to North Cyprus through Larnaca airport. The borders meant that from just the UK, there was now the option to fly from around 18 UK airports at the time, non stop and direct to Larnaca. With this opportunity in mind, we developed the very first non-stop direct flight package holidays to North Cyprus.
Direct Flights to Cyprus
This was an extremely popular product development for North Cyprus holidays. We saw huge demand in our services, as we not only offered non-stop direct flights with no touchdowns or stopover’s, but it meant travellers could now fly to Cyprus for 4 hours as opposed to the 6+ hours to North Cyprus, and ultimately fly from their local airport.
A simple concept, but a powerful one! This development ensured Direct Traveller was the leading tour operator to North Cyprus within 3 years of establishing itself. Direct Traveller brought thousands of people to North Cyprus each year, with 2009 achieving our 10,000 passengers per year status (by utilising flights to Ercan airport via Turkey or directly to Larnaca in the South). This was not a coincidence. Our outlook of accessibility, competitive prices, and an ethos of 100% customer satisfaction, meant our holidays were very popular.
Awards Received From RT Hon Vince Cable, Sunday Times & Virgin
In 2010 Direct Traveller was awarded by Sunday Times and Virgin, and included in the Sunday Times league tables as being 77th fastest growing company in the UK. That was across all sectors. What an achievement, and what pride I take in saying that. Bringing North Cyprus to such a mainstream publication and event gave me huge satisfaction and motivation. Being presented this award in Richard Branson’s home was an honour.
Direct Traveller Awarded As 77th Fastest growing co.
At Sunday Times Virgin Fasttrack league Tables, at Richard Branson’s home.
Turkish Entrepreneur of the year by Rt Hon Vince Cable, British Business Secretary
Achieving this for me, my company, and for North Cyprus was my own personal symbol of our success. From this, our awards continued, with TRNC hotelier’s association awards, British Travel Awards, awards from the Minister for Tourism of North Cyprus and also an award presented by Dr Vince Cable (UK business secretary) in 2012 for being the Turkish Entrepreneur of the year.
First UK National TV Adverts for North Cyprus Holidays
From this we found ourselves developing our company Direct Traveller form a small independent tour operator, to that of Medium status. Expanding our promotional activities we also expanded to launch the first UK national TV advertising campaign dedicated to North Cyprus holidays.
National TV advertising
Concentrating on North Cyprus initially, we have now further developed this product to include Turkey, Dubai, Sri Lanka and Oman. We have further developed our holiday types in all of our destinations, to offer experiences, and beach holidays, tours and much more.
Direct Traveller Team
Some of the Direct Traveller team in North Cyprus
Our outlook for the future is further development, and we hope to maintain our status of UK’s leading independent tour operator not just to North Cyprus but to all of the destinations we offer. We have many more plans ahead, and are excited at the endless opportunities for us as a company, but also as individuals. I love promoting our destinations, as I have a real passion for them. Knowing we can make a difference to local people, and the British public is positive feeling.
New destinations – Istanbul
Our continuous passion and focus
The satisfaction I get from Offering quality holidays to our clients, receiving a positive feedback, and from knowing we are making difference to people, by offering holidays that they truly desire, tailor made to their requirements, makes it all worthwhile. It gives me a buzz, and gives my whole team the same feeling. That’s what I believe sets us apart – truly caring about what we do, and taking pride in offering the best that is possible.More Memories…
British Travel Awards
Direct Traveller Awarded By TRNC Ministry Of Tourism
Have you had experiences with Direct Traveller? do you share the same passion for North Cyprus or any of our destinations as we do? Tell us about it…