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Cyprus aims to become a top-30 tourist destination

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Cyprus Deputy Ministry of Tourism has drawn up a 10-year strategic plan aiming to place Cyprus amongst the world’s top 30 tourist destinations.

The National Strategy Plan was submitted to the cabinet on Wednesday with Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios appearing confident that the project will see Cyprus tourism contribution to the local economy grow by €1.6 bln to €4.5 bln per year.

Without wanting to give further detail on what the plan involves, Perdios told reporters: “There is a lot of work for us to do so that Cyprus can be included in the 30 top tourist destinations in the world”.

Cyprus currently ranks 44th in the world, while Spain ranks number one, France 3rd, and Italy 8th. Portugal is in 12th place, Greece 25th, Croatia 27th and Malta in 35th place.

According to the Deputy Minister, more details will be made available once the national strategy is presented to Parliament on 21 January. He did say that the plan comprises five key pillars.

The first one is to increase Cyprus’ tourism’s seasonality by making Cyprus a year-round tourist destination, the second is for the entire island to benefit from tourism not just coastal areas, the third pillar is to establish Cyprus as a quality destination, the fourth pillar is better use of digital technology and the fifth has to do with climate change and sustainable growth.

Perdios explained that his ministry wants to enhance Cyprus’ image as a country that cares about the environment. As he pointed out, a growing number of tourists are preferring environmentally friendly countries for their holidays.

He said that no negative impact this season is expected after UK tour operator Thomas Cook went bust last year. As Perdios argued, the gap created by the demise of the tour operator giant has been closed by other companies.

Referring to Cyprus’ air connectivity, he said that arrivals from Germany are expected to increase by 20% as a result of an agreement with German air carrier Condor, adding that over the next two years efforts will be focussed on increasing flight schedules.

Perdios said that indications so far for this year are that tourist arrivals will be at similar levels as last year and that this trend will likely continue through 2021.

He also referred to steps taken to increase tourist arrivals from new markets such as Holland and Scandinavian countries.

Commenting on challenges caused by the UK leaving the EU, Perdios said that so far Brexit procedures do not seem to be affecting Cyprus, although “it is something we are continuously monitoring.”

On the international outcry after a British woman was convicted of “public mischief” after retracting a gang-rape allegation will affect arrivals from the UK, Perdios said, “it is too soon to say whether it has affected us or whether it will affect us.”

The Deputy Tourism Minister said the goal is to ensure that there is no panic over the matter.  He said authorities are monitoring the situation and in touch with all tourism stakeholders in Cyprus.

Cyprus will soon launch a new branding campaign to “further boost the country’s tourism not just this year but also in the coming years.”

Perdios said: “Cyprus does have a plan to give stakeholders a clear idea of what kind of tourism we want to promote, and they can count on us for further improving the prospects of our tourism”.