articles | 05 December 2023

Cyprus tourism arrivals close to record year

Tourism arrivals to Cyprus this year are expected to almost match the record-breaking levels of 2019, boasting a 21 per cent increase on last year, Deputy Minister of Tourism Costas Koumis has said.

“In terms of revenue, we are probably heading for a new record,” he said. He was speaking at the AGM of the Association of Cyprus Travel Agents (ACTA), where he also shared optimistic projections for the upcoming tourism season. “After the contacts of the deputy ministry in the Nordic countries, France, Great Britain and Poland last week and of course taking into account all that is transmitted by our partners around the world, but also by you, we are cautiously optimistic,” he said.

President of ACTA Vasilis Stamataris echoed Koumis’ optimism for the forthcoming year but acknowledged that the challenges posed by conflicts in Ukraine and Israel, as well as economic issues, such as the ongoing inflation, high interest rates and energy costs, are shaping a volatile global environment for tourism. Stamataris stressed the need for persistent efforts aimed at increasing advertising funds used to enrich the tourism product.

He also said his association has outlined goals to improve infrastructure, resolve seasonality issues, enhance air connectivity especially during off-peak seasons, renovate hotel units and provide new incentives for tourist enterprises and agents. In conclusion, Stamataris expressed satisfaction at overcoming “the immense challenges faced during the pandemic and the Ukrainian conflict”, remarking on the association’s resilience through challenging times.

The director of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEVE) Christos Petsidis also praised Cyprus’ impressive performance in tourism this year. However, he cautioned against complacency and relaxation, noting that the successful trajectory of tourism in 2023 “should not lull us into a false sense of security. “This means that Cyprus must consistently strengthen its tourism sector to withstand challenges and, at the same time, enhance our tourism product,” he said, stressing the need for the island to remain proactive and adaptive, ensuring the sustained growth and improvement of its tourism sector.

Koumis said efforts are underway to finalise the island’s long-term tourism strategy until 2035. The strategy focuses on sustainable development principles, green transition, digital transformation, and further enhancement of accessibility infrastructure. He said the perennial problem facing tourism in Cyprus is seasonality, solving which has been a longstanding goal for the government. He underlined the necessity of collaborative efforts across all tourism sectors to address this issue effectively.

Koumis mentioned the proposals discussed during the Mediterranean States’ Tourism Ministers Summit including the European Union’s potential development of a social tourism programme that would allow European citizens, based on income criteria, to visit other European countries during off-peak periods, a proposal positively received by all delegates.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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