New action plan for tourism, Deputy Minister by Jan 2017
A study is underway to prepare a new long-term national strategy for tourism, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Tuesday, noting that the number of tourists in the first quarter of 2016 increased by 32% compared to the corresponding period last year.
Addressing the general assembly of the Association of Cyprus Tourist Enterprises (ACTE), the President said that the government has been working in the past three years to upgrade and promote the tourism sector.
This seems to have paid off as there was an increase of 8.9% in arrivals last year compared to 2014. Revenue also increased, by 4.4%, from EUR 2 bln in 2014 to 2.11 bln in 2015.
Summer bookings are up and in the first quarter of 2016 the number of tourists visiting Cyprus were up 32.4% to 251,608 from 189,988 in the same period last year.
The President also announced that the government intends to create the portfolio for a Deputy Ministry for Tourism, which, if approved by the incoming parliament to be elected on May 22, would be ready by January 2017.
He also referred to efforts to improve air connectivity with countries where there is potential for attracting tourists and to simplify the visa issuance process in countries, such as China. tourist arrivals in March alone reached 173,013 compared to 97,479 in March 2015, an increase of 40.6%, according to the latest Passengers Survey by the Statistical Service.
There was an increase of 44.1% in tourist arrivals from the United Kingdom (from 41,149 in March 2015 to 59,282 in March 2016), a 73.5% increase from Germany (from 7,443 to 12,917), up 63.4% from Russia (from 7,855 to 12,835) and 15.5% from Greece (from 10,557 to 12,191 this year). On the other hand, there was a decrease of 19.8% in tourist arrivals from France (to 1,616 from 2,016).
The CTO said that the increase in March follows the same trend in the previous months, and that this year will see a new record in tourist arrivals. It added that tourist arrivals in winter (November 2015 - March 2016) increased by 33% to 438,000.
The monthly Passengers Survey also showed that there was an increase in overseas trips by Cyprus residents in March.
Cystat said 86,229 residents returned from a trip abroad in March, compared to 82,418 in the same month last year, an increase of 4.6%. There was a 7.4% increase in trips to Greece, up from from 29,387 in March 2015 to 31,570 in March 2016.