Bookings from Russia and Ukraine remained at high levels since the beginning of the year, Tourism and Energy Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said during the weekend ‘Travel 2014’ exhibition in Nicosia, adding that he is optimistic about arrivals both for the summer of 2014 and the winter season 2014-2015.
“We are cautiously optimistic that even the emerging markets, such as Russia and Ukraine, for which we had concerns, have retained the number of seats booked since the beginning of the year and there was no reduction. We have about 750,000 bookings from Russia and about 100,000 bookings from Ukraine”.
The Minister attributed the tourist flow from Ukraine to the fact that Ukrainians are seeking alternative destinations for the summer, away from Crimea.
“Therefore, for 2014 we are very optimistic, as ell as for the winter period 2014 - 2015 and I hope that we will have good news soon," he said.
Lakkotypis referred to continuous, targeted and intensive efforts by the government to attract more tourists, stressing the importance of the sector to the Cypriot economy.
He explained that several measures have been taken to facilitate tourist arrivals such as the simplification of visa-granting procedure, the increase in the frequency of flights to and from Cyprus and the new flight programmes from Doha, Basel, Riga and Helsinki.
“At the same time, important steps are being taken to extend the tourist season, enrich our tourist product and rationalise the use of CTO financial resources,” he said.
The minister also said that last year Cyprus welcomed 2.4 mln visitors, a 2.4% decline in arrivals but an increase in revenue of 8.2%.
Victor Mantovani, President of the Association of Cyprus Travel Agents (ACTA) said that incoming tourism had a moderate course in 2013.
“Without the booming Russian market”, he continued, “things would have been much worse”. He added however that the increase in the Russian market was the result of a general increase in all Mediterranean destinations.
Mantovani urged the government to take all the necessary measures to solve the problems of the sector which, as he said, “are easy to be solved without any substantial cost, as long as there is the will and determination”.
Saying that he is cautiously optimistic about the indications so far, the President of ACTA said that tourism on the island has huge potential.
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