Tourism growth to con­tinue

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The pos­i­tive trend in tourism is ex­pected to con­tinue this year, Tourism and En­ergy Min­is­ter Yior­gos Lakkotrypis said, adding that the ma­jor chal­lenges for the world tourist in­dus­try will af­fect Cyprus as well.

In his ad­dress to the 38th con­fer­ence of the Cyprus Ho­tel As­so­ci­a­tion (CHA), Lakkotrypis said that the un­rest in the geopo­lit­i­cal scene and the con­tin­u­ing threat of ter­ror­ism is ex­pected to neg­a­tively af­fect global tourism and in par­tic­u­lar in the east­ern Mediter­ranean and the Middle East, with which po­ten­tial vis­i­tors are con­nect­ing Cyprus due to ge­o­graph­i­cal prox­im­ity.

He also pointed out the risk of a domino ef­fect on the sus­tain­abil­ity of large tour oper­a­tors be­cause of losses they suf­fer in cer­tain coun­tries, with pos­si­ble neg­a­tive eco­nomic fall­out on other des­ti­na­tions.

He noted, how­ever, that govern­ment ef­forts to upgrade the tourist prod­uct and in­crease the flow of tourists to Cyprus will con­tinue.

Lakkotrypis said that 2015 was not an easy year for tourism and that the achieve­ments of lo­cal tourism with nearly a 9% in­crease in ar­rivals were not co­in­ci­den­tal and have lit­tle to do with the prob­lems in neigh­bour­ing coun­tries.

Re­fer­ring to the in­crease in ar­rivals, the Min­is­ter said that in 2015 there was a large in­flux of tourists by many of the tar­get mar­kets: 19.5% from the UK, 30% from Ger­many, 43% from Is­rael, 38% from Greece, 25% from France, 32% from the Nether­lands, 35% from Aus­tria, 49% from Poland and 23% from the Ukraine. Th­ese in­creases out­weighed the in­evitable re­duc­tions in ar­rivals from Rus­sia and the Nordic coun­tries.

At the same time he re­ferred to large tourist projects that will di­ver­sify Cyprus by com­pet­ing des­ti­na­tions like new golf de­vel­op­ments, ad­di­tional mari­nas and the cre­ation of an in­te­grated casino-re­sort.

He also said that the Min­istry in­tends to sub­stan­tially im­prove the air con­nec­tiv­ity of Cyprus and fa­cil­i­tate visas from coun­tries con­sid­ered pure tourists ex­porters like China. The govern­ment is pro­ceed­ing with es­tab­lish­ing five au­tho­rised cen­tres for visa ap­pli­ca­tion in China with a view to cre­at­ing an­other ten in the fu­ture.

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