Tourism to peak at 3.1 mln, chal­lenges ahead

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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