New ac­tion plan for tourism, Deputy Min­is­ter by Jan 2017

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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