Cyprus Tourism has favourable future despite headwinds, Tourism DepMin says

Cyprus’ Tourism has a favourable future despite challenges, Deputy Minister for Tourism Savvas Perdios said on Tuesday, stressing that the next administration should not “back track” from the work done so far in the tourism sector by the Deputy Ministry.

Addressing the 67th General Assembly of the Association of Cyprus Travel Agents (ACTA), Perdios said that despite headwinds such as the closure of major tour operators and airlines, the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and record-high inflation “our tourism still stands and, I believe, with a more favourable future from the tourism we knew before.”

He praised the efforts of both the state and tourism stakeholders to weather the storm due to the war in Ukraine.

Perdios recalled that due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing sanctions of the EU Cyprus was deprived from 800,000 arrivals, noting that Cyprus was the only country in the EU to lose 25% of its tourist arrivals in just one night, with no prospects for recovery, at least for the coming years, adding that “whoever believes that this market will recover to the previous levels is mistaken.”

However, Perdios noted that he is proud of the work done by the tour operators and other stake holders to offset the loss and stand on their feet.

The Deputy Minister said that Cyprus arrivals and revenue are at 80% and 90% respectively of 2019, a record year for Cyprus, noting that the European Union markets help to cover the lost ground with record arrivals from destinations such as France, Denmark, Poland and Hungary.

“The EU represents 40% of our tourism and I expect with announcements such as Wizz Air, Ryanair and others to follow suit, in the coming years this market will reach 50% or even 60% of our tourism,” he added.

On a personal note, Perdios said he is proud to work with the tourist stakeholders, while in view of the coming presidential elections he noted that the hoped “no one will back track” from the work done so far referring to the transition from the Cyprus Tourism Organisation to the Deputy Ministry for Tourism.

“I believe the country will have a future, if we continue (implementing) the National Strategy for Tourism,” he said, noting that he is not referring to “Savvas Perdios at the same position.”

“I am referring to the collaboration of the Deputy Ministry with the tourism stakeholders to implement what we have agreed on and included in the National Strategy,” he said.

On his part, Marios Tsiakkis, General Secretary of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said Cyprus has managed to pull through in very difficult circumstances due to the war in Ukraine.

“Reaching 80% and almost 90% of arrivals and revenue of 2019, which was a record year, is very important because at the start of the season we projected a large decline in arrivals given the importance of the Russian market,” he said.

ACTA President, Vasilis Stamataris said travel agents can adapt to challenges, noting however that the series of challenges, in Covid, war and inflation “went too far”.

“The outcome under the circumstances, to close the year at 80% of incoming tourism and somewhat larger decline in outgoing tourism, due to limitation in travel with non-EU countries is quite satisfactory,” he said.

Stamataris expressed concern over the European Commission changes in the travel packages, noting that the proposed regulation is one-sided.

The European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association noted that the options under review show little alignment between the measures imposed on tour operators and those of airlines.

Source: Cyprus News Agency