According to an official announcement, the board is keeping a close eye on developments in the international tourism markets and, in particular, the effects of the EU sanctions on Russia.
These, the CTO said, have impacted Russian tourism to Cyprus. The board said it had made every effort to alleviate the problem and minimise the consequences of the downturn, noting the Russian market remains Cyprus’ second most significant source of tourism arrivals.
These efforts, the CTO said, had resulted in maintaining the number of visitors at 2013 levels with an anticipated increase of 5% in the New Year.
The CTO also remains in constant contact with Russian tour operators to best limit losses in 2015. The CTO noted its efforts were complicated by a lack of funds making it difficult to compete with the advertising budgets of other destinations vying for the Russian market.
The CTO added competitors such as Turkey and Egypt were able to make deals with Russian tour operators that were not encumbered by the EU regulations Cyprus is subject to. It added adjustments to the CTO budget, partially regarding advertising, would do a lot to make Cyprus more competitive.
The CTO noted some of the losses from the Russian market had been recouped through intensified efforts in other markets such as Israel, the Netherlands, Poland, Austria, Switzerland and France. These include cooperation projects with tour operators.
The CTO has also intensified it efforts in traditional markets such as the UK, Germany and the Scandinavian countries. The launch of new flights has helped in this area, the CTO said, noting accessibility to and from Cyprus had been improved and first-time routes added including from Vilnius and Stockholm. Significant routes will be added in 2015, including Hamburg, Bremen, Düsseldorf, Berlin, Katowice and Rome.
The CTO is also continuing its efforts to extend Cyprus’ tourism season and encourage winter visitors, in cooperation with travel agents, hoteliers, restaurateurs; travel guides others in the industry.