Rus­sian tourists to peak at 650,000

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Cyprus tourism of­fi­cials be­lieve that the num­ber of tourist ar­rivals from Rus­sia will peak at 650,000 this year, sec­ond only to ar­rivals from the U.K., while Rus­sians are also the third best spenders on the is­land. Cyprus Tourism Or­gan­i­sa­tion (CTO) Vice Chair­man Kostas Koumis said that plans are al­ready un­der­way with new part­ner­ships to in­crease tourist ar­rivals in 2015, both from Rus­sia and other Euro­pean and nonEuro­pean coun­tries. “Given that in 2013, around 608,000 Rus­sian tourists ar­rived in Cyprus, we hope that if ar­rivals in com­ing months reach the same lev­els as the months of the pre­vi­ous year, tourists will reach 650,000 which is a record num­ber,” he noted. He said that the fu­ture of the Rus­sian tourist mar­ket for 2015 “de­pends on what is hap­pen­ing in Rus­sia, know­ing that the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment is con­sid­er­ing to im­pose taxes on trips out­side of Rus­sia.” Un­for­tu­nately, he added, this could have a neg­a­tive im­pact on Cyprus.

The monthly Pas­sen­ger Survey for Jan­uary-July con­ducted by the Sta­tis­ti­cal Ser­vice Cy­s­tat saw rev­enue from tourism rise to EUR 1,099.9 mln com­pared to 1,036.2 mln in the same pe­riod of 2013, an in­crease of 6.1%. To­tal per capita spend­ing dropped to EUR 841.00 com­pared to 936.80 in July 2013, while daily spend­ing dropped to EUR 78.30 from 89.40, the sta­tis­ti­cal ser­vice said ear­lier in Oc­to­ber. The high­est per capita spend­ing was recorded by tourists from France with EUR 1,000.70, fol­lowed by the Swiss with 940.10 and the Rus­sians with 934.40. Mean­while, CTO Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Mar­ios Han­nides said that there are no of­fi­cial pro­jec­tions show­ing a de­cline in the Rus­sian tourist flow for next year, but spoke of “po­ten­tial dif­fi­cul­ties” from the im­pact of mea­sures taken by the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment, such as taxes on for­eign travel and the de­val­u­a­tion of the rou­ble against the euro.

Speak­ing dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion of a KPMG study for the re­struc­tur­ing of CTO, Han­nides said that the pur­chas­ing power of Rus­sian tourists is con­strained by an in­crease in the VAT to 18% and visa prob­lems.

He said that there are some en­cour­ag­ing signs from the co­op­er­a­tion with Arab coun­tries, owing to CTO’s ef­forts to es­tab­lish di­rect flights with th­ese coun­tries.

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