Tourism to peak at 3.1 mln, challenges ahead
Tourism and Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis said that 2016 will be exceptionally good in terms of tourist arrivals and tourist revenue, with a record season as arrivals will be up by half a million compared to 2015.
“The issue is to be able to repeat this performance in years to follow and to create the conditions for sustainable growth in this sector, which is the pacesetter of the Cyprus economy,” he told a parliamentary committee meeting, also attended by Transport Minister Marios Demetriades and Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos.
The last estimate for the 2016 tourist arrivals is 3.1 mln, compared with 2.65 mln in 2015 and 2.7 mln in 2001 which was the last record year.
Lakkotrypis said that according the latest figures, the contribution to of tourism to the economy amounts 12% of GDP.
“I expect the contribution will be bigger this year,” he said, but warned that this performance “shows our limits in issues concerning infrastructure,” pointing out that problems emerged in the airports, and specifically in passport control, infrastructure, beaches and telecommunications.
“This year will be a landmark address these problems and move the next level,” he stressed.
On his part Hasikos referred to the problems of the many unlicensed tourist accommodations, noting that the majority of these problems are owner-related.
According to data submitted in the meeting, 52% of the total tourist accommodation units operate without
to to to a license from Organisation.
Demetriades referred to the issue of air connectivity, highlighting the significant increase in flights to and from Cyprus since January 2015.
He said that airport traffic increased by 3.6% in 2015 and by 15% so far, noting that all gaps that emerged following the liquidation of Cyprus Airways, Cyprus national air carrier, have been covered.
Angelos Votsis, the Committee Chairman for Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism called on the authorities to maintain the momentum in tourist arrivals for the coming years.
“If we manage to make these tourist act as ambassadors of Cyprus abroad this would be a great achievement that would assist the effort,” he concluded.