CTO Chairman in CNA: More than Euros 2,500 income for every resident from tourism

Chairman of the Board of Directors of Cyprus Tourism Organization Angelos Loizou stressed the importance of tourism for the economy of Cyprus, amid the best ever tourist season for Cyprus.

In an interview with CNA he said that the tourist industry employs around 13-14% of the population, there are 4 tourists for every resident, while the country has more than Euros 2,500 income per capita from tourism. As he stressed, Cyprus should preserve and maintain these numbers setting the foundation for a sustainable growth over time.

Cyprus had an increase of 20% last year from tourism to 3.2 million tourists and hopes that arrivals will reach 3.5 million this year. Loizou highlighted the high share of industry in Cyprus’ GDP and the much greater indirect benefits in the economy.

Regarding the quality of tourism coming to Cyprus, Loizou noted that income per tourist is well above the regions competitors and is similar to destinations as Spain and Portugal.

The “all inclusive” trend, he also noted, is not very high in Cyprus reaching around 35%, while according to a study by CTO in cooperation with the VAT Department there is a healthy revenue growth across the economy in 30 to 40 different occupations related to tourism industry, apart from the hotels. He also said that unlike previous years, when there was a problem with uncontrolled charges in Cyprus, there has been price containment and control in the recent years.

CTO is also looking forward for the construction and opening of the casino resort in Limassol, which according to Loizou will attract a new category of tourist in Cyprus and will help to the extension of the tourist season. The same goal is also sought with other projects such as the marinas, which Cyprus plans to construct in different coastal cities. As he noted the example of Limassol marina, shows that it can be a very successful investment, that can lead for example, to the growth of real estate sector.

Tourism growth in Nicosia a big challenge

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Tourism in all other Cypriot cities has been increasing in the recent years, but Nicosia, according to CTO Chairman, remains a major challenge, since Cyprus’ capital city has not yet attracted a satisfactory number of tourists.

“For this reason, we are asking for a broad meeting with local authorities, the mayors of all the municipalities in Nicosia province, to discuss the issue and to put down some suggestions,” he said.

He also pointed out that Nicosia with so many different monuments in the side inside the Venetian walls and with a history that could impress could attract a large number of tourists.

A better planning, he added, is also required on the issue of Cyprus’ mountain resorts, that a few decades ago were the number one destination not only for Cypriots, but also for tourists from neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Israel and Egypt and have lost today a large share of tourists that prefer the seaside.

CTO ready to upgrade into an Undersecretariat for Tourism

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The next steps for Cypriot tourism include both the immediate launch in July of the consultation on the national tourism strategy and the voting of the bill for the creation of an Undersecretariat for Tourism.

In relation to the national tourism strategy, Loizou said he expects to see the study in detail in order to express any views.

What is important, he said, is to determine the type of tourist that Cyprus wants to attract, to create projects that will add value to the tourism product over time and to see the economic benefits of the various scenarios for which there are suggestions.

Regarding to the transformation into an Undersecretariat for Tourism, Loizou said that CTO is ready for such a possibility.

As he said CTO looks forward to see if that planning will give the Undersecretariat such horizontal powers in order to be able to implement its strategies.

“We certainly hope, we feel that this upgrade should have already been made and we believe that it will soon be voted and will go ahead,” he said.

Need for innovation on the field of tourism

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Asked on the labor shortages in hotels due to the increased tourism flows in Cyprus and on how attractive these workplaces are, Loizou noted that there are several places in the hotels to employ the locals, but as he noted, young people should find innovative ways, products, occupations and similar services to add value to the tourism product.

For that reason, he also said, Universities and Colleges in Cyprus should design the right academic programs.

“I think that Cyprus could be a very good training center in the region or in Europe for tourism industry, not just in hotels,” he said, adding that there are also many other tourist professions.

Stressing the need for innovations and research centers on tourism in Cyprus, Loizou has pinpointed how this dynamic of the recent years could prove to be timeless and not simply a result of coincidences.

Source: Cyprus News Agency