Minister of Commerce, Trade and Tourism Neoklis Sylikiotis on Thursday called on hotel owners to hire Cypriot employees in the framework of upgrading the services offered to tourists.
Speaking during a press conference held at the offices of Cyprus Tourism Organization (CTO) , Sylikiotis said that the most important characteristic of Cyprus culture is hospitality, thus the estrangement of Cypriot workers from the tourism industry, deprives the tourists from the ability to get to know and enjoy the Cypriot tradition. He pointed out that this has an immediate effect on the level of the services offered to our visitors.
Sylikiotis said that the revenue from the tourist industry recorded an increase of 11% in 2012 whereas the arrivals also increased by 3% compared to 2011. He stressed that the tourist arrivals from Russia increased by 42% adding that the recent decision to extend the chartered flight period from March to November is expected to have an additional increase of up to 150.000 tourists with a revenue to reach between 120-170 million.
He described 2012 as an excellent year for the tourist industry, saying that the data show that it was a “record year” at a period where Cyprus is faced with the economic crisis.
As regards the measures taken in cooperation and coordination with the CTO , Sylikiotis referred to the 5-year strategic plan which the organization put in effect in 2011. The plan refers to the operation of golf courses, the construction of marinas and the promotion of various forms of tourism such as medical tourism , agrotourism, conference tourism etc.
He also said that EU funds of 16 million euro were used for the promotion of various projects in the tourism industry and Cyprus participated in more than 600 tourism fairs.
Sylikiotis also pointed out that the tourist industry was further upgraded with the introduction of new routes by low cost airlines like Ryanair και η Easyjet and the extend of routes to include Cyprus by Emirates and Etihad.
Tourism Minister also said that among the priorities to enhance the tourism industry is the reopening of the Tour Guides College in Cyprus this month at which a total of 31 students will attend, most of which are Russian speaking.
He added that Cyprus is proceeding with simplifying the visa procedures for Ukrainian citizens, noting that Ukraine, along with Russia, is a very promising tourist market.
CTO Chairman Alekos Orountiotis said that tourism is a very important factor of the economy and the organization has taken a lot of measures and has implemented new policies in order to upgrade the services and promote Cyprus as a tourist destination.
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