articles | 21 February 2024

Cyprus tourism minister pushes for support measures for island destinations

Cypriot Deputy Minister of Tourism Kostas Koumis this week emphasised the urgent need for support measures from the European Union (EU) for island tourist destinations, during his participation in the informal meeting of EU Tourism Ministers.

During the meeting, which concluded on Tuesday in the Belgian city of La Hulpe, Koumis proposed the establishment of a pan-European electronic platform to facilitate the recruitment of workers within the tourism sector. This initiative aims to address challenges related to workforce availability and ensure a seamless connection between employers and professionals seeking opportunities in the industry.

According to a statement from the Deputy Ministry of Tourism, the Belgian Presidency chose the dual transition of European tourism, meaning the green and digital transformation, as the central topic of discussion. Focus was also placed on skill-related issues. At the meeting, Koumis presented the initiatives and actions undertaken by the Deputy Ministry of Tourism in connection with the aforementioned axes. Moreover, he highlighted the circular economy plan and incentive schemes promoted by Cyprus to boost the tourism industry. Koumis expressed the view that the European Union should take into account the unique characteristics of its member states, especially those with island tourist destinations, and work towards adopting specific support measures. He underscored the need for further alignment of EU policies with the real needs of the tourism sector, emphasising the importance of additional training for tourism sector workers. This, he suggested, could be achieved through collaboration between EU member states, particularly by enhancing cooperation between state tertiary education institutions and those promoting professional programmes.

Regarding the shortage of human resources, a pervasive issue in the European tourism sector, Koumis suggested that the EU should promote the creation of an electronic platform for worker recruitment. Such a platform, he argued, would benefit both businesses in the sector and professionals seeking employment opportunities, especially newcomers to the industry. The recommendations put forth by the Deputy Minister of Tourism were included in the general conclusions of the meeting.

Other crucial topics highlighted during the session included the collection, management, and dissemination of best practices implemented by EU member countries to enhance collaboration and ultimately strengthen the tourism sector. In a subsequent interview, Koumis stressed the importance of EU member states working collectively to strengthen the tourism sector, which undoubtedly faces similar challenges across the entirety of Europe. He also said that there is a need for alignment in the private sector in order to achieve the goals set by the EU.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Koumis held separate meetings with his Bulgarian counterpart Zaritsa Dinkova, and Maltese counterpart, Clayton Bartolo. The announcement concluded by saying that “these interactions furthered discussions on collaborative initiatives and strategies to address shared challenges within the tourism industry”.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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