Tourism growth to continue
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.