Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis said he is cautiously optimistic about Cyprus tourist arrivals in 2014, noting that arrivals could increase at best by 8%.
Speaking to the press, Lakkotrypis said that arrivals in April marked an increase of 12% year on year, adding that “signs are encouraging.”
Lakkotrypis noted that the Ministry’s strategy aims to maintain traditional tourist markets such as the United Kingdom, while attracting emerging markets such as Russia and Ukraine.
Noting that no flights have been cancelled due to the crisis in Ukraine, Lakkotrypis said “we are therefore cautiously optimistic for a healthy increase in tourist arrivals in the region of 5% to 8%, provided no external factor affects this prospect.”
Replying to a question regarding the prospects from Britain, Lakkotrypis said following an agreement signed with TUI, one of Britain’s largest tour operators, Cyprus would be able to maintain arrivals and avert a decline in the number of tourists from the UK which has traditionally been Cyprus’ biggest tourist market with 900,000 to 1 mln arrivals a year.
“We had a dramatic reduction in the past few years and our strategy is to maintain tourist arrivals before restoring growth. It seems that we are succeeding,” he added.
As regards the German market, Lakkotrypis said the decline will continue this year, but recovery is expected in 2015.
Asked about the winter tourist season, the Minister said the agreement with TUI mainly concerns the winter season from November 2014 to March 2015 on a three-year outlook, adding that the Ministry aims at signing similar agreements with other tour operators.
Arrivals were up 11.4% in April compared to the same month last year, according to the Statistical Service Cystat.
The monthly Passengers Survey showed arrivals reached 180,998 in April compared to 162,439 in April 2013, an increase of 11.4%.
An increase of 18.9% was recorded in tourist arrivals from the U.K., up from 61,888 in April 2013 to 73,556 in April 2014. Arrivals from Russia were also up, by 13.7% from 28,531 to 32,430.
The German market recorded an increase of 1.7%, from 10,291 to 10,465, while arrivals from Greece were up 22.7%, from 8,456 last April to 10,374 this April.
On the other hand, tourist arrivals from Sweden saw a drop of 35.1%, down to 6,382 in April 2014 from 9,833 in April 2013.
For the January – April period, tourist arrivals totalled 344,435 compared to 339,672 in the same period of 2013, up 1.4%.
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