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Cyprus tourism officials optimistic about arrivals from Russia and the UK

22 March, 2013

As Cyprus is facing uncertainty over its economy, tourism arrivals from Russia and the UK for now appear positive and optimistic, with tourist agents maintaining their reservations and continuing their planning for the new tourist season in the hotelier industry.

Chairman of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation Board, Alecos Orountiotis told CNA from Moscow where he is attending the country’s tourism fair, the general feeling is that there is a concern but most fears have been overcome. “The planning that has already been made and they have assured us that they will not make any changes to their programmes”.
He also said that programming has shown that there is a bigger increase from the Russian market which will take place whatever happens. “The CTO and the government of Cyprus are standing by them and we will remain here even if there is a problem”, he added.

Orountiotis said “we are very satisfied”, adding that it is clear that whatever happens in Cyprus, the messages we get from Russia are surely very positive”.
He further said that the Russian tourism officials were persuaded by the Cypriot delegation’s assurances and “told us that they have no intention to reduce the number of arrivals and will continue as planned”.

Orountiotis told CNA that the problem with the tourist agents in Saint Petersburg has been sorted out after the Cyprus Airways announcement that it intends to reduce the number of flights to and from St. Petersburg.
He said that the tourist agents from St. Petersburg said there will be an increase of ten thousand tourists and that they will cooperate with the airline “Russia” which will cover not only the reduced number of CY flights but will also have additional flights.

Arrivals from Russia were 470 thousand while this year, he said, arrivals are estimated at 550 thousand.
The CTO chairman said that his office is in contact with the British and German markets and with all its offices throughout the world.

“For now, there appears to be no serious problem, things are under control, there have been no cancellations. If we have to travel to the UK to ease the agents’ fears, we will do so”, he added.
CTO director Marios Hannides told, CNA that after the Eurogroup decision, we received many messages of concern from tourist agents from Russia as to what will happen next.

However, he added, following the Cypriot delegation’s contacts in the Russian capital, “we were able to appease their concerns and for this reason we will not have any cancellations”.
He also said that “we have managed to quell the fears of the British tourist market”.

Following the Eurogroup meeting last week, the House of Representatives plenary rejected Tuesday a draft bill on Cyprus` bailout agreement that provides for an unprecedented levy to be imposed on savings in Cyprus banks (haircut) with 36 votes against and 19 abstentions.
Excluded from the international markets, Cyprus applied last June for financial assistance from the EU bailout mechanism, after its banks sought state support following massive write downs of the Greek bond holdings amounting to €4.5 billion or 25% of the island`s GDP, as result of the Greek sovereign debt haircut.