Mr Savvas Perdios said he will proceed with consultations with airlines and travel agents during the first phase, and will also involve the Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos and representatives of airport operator Hermes during the second phase.
“The goal is to ensure we can receive tourists from as many countries as possible in what we expect to be a very difficult year ahead,” Perdios said.
Even though the Minister held similar talks with airlines and travel agents three weeks ago, he explained that the situation at this point in time is much clearer, as they are at a stage in which they can start thinking of opening up to foreign visitors.
Given the current circumstances of the pandemic, Perdios said he is also targeting tourism markets that have not been big markets for Cyprus in the past, such as Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Greece, Israel, Norway and Denmark.
“All these countries are expected to open up earlier than the UK, Russia and Sweden, which are more commonly linked to Cyprus,” he said. Perdios clarified that Cyprus is not “cutting ties” with those nations and that they are simply considering expanding their range of markets. There are also plans to attract tourists from the UK, Russia and Sweden in the winter, “at a time where the situation for those countries might be better,” he said.
Moreover, the Minister said the number of hotels to open in the summer will depend on the information gathered by the end of May and on the protocols that will be issued by the Ministry of Health.
“By the end of May, we will have a complete picture of how the tourism industry will function and what markets we will have to target the most,” he said.
In conclusion, he said their goal is to attract at least 30% of last year’s tourism and although this is not a great number, they must remain realistic and understand that the situation we are facing is both difficult and unprecedented.