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Cyprus looks ahead after breaking more tourist records

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Cyprus Deputy Ministry of Tourism is satisfied as 2019 ended with a bang, breaking last year’s record for tourist arrivals after efforts to recover lost airline seats from major markets such as Germany and Britain.

Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios while presenting the junior ministry’s achievements for 2019, said that deals with airlines such as Condor and other smaller British carriers have closed the gap created by the collapse of other companies.

Perdios noted that the Deputy Ministry along with all stakeholders in the island’s tourism sector are generally pleased with the 2019 results as tourist arrivals have reached the same levels as the previous year when some 3.9 million tourists visited the island.

According to the latest data available, for the period January-November 2019 tourist arrivals increased by 0.9% to 3,866,447 from 3,832,062 for the same period in 2018, thus exceeding the record.

Perdios told reporters the Deputy Ministry, which began operating in January 2019, had a difficult first year having to deal with Brexit uncertainties, the collapse of tour operator giant Thomas Cook, the revival of neighbouring tourist destinations and challenges posed by ever-growing environmental concerns over carbon footprints.

A growing number of environmentally aware tourists from northern European countries opt to travel closer to home.

Looking ahead, the Ministry aims to increase tourist flows to the island by 30% by the end of the decade, according to the national strategic plan.

The junior ministry will be also seeking to increase the annual income generated by tourism by some €1.5 bln, reaching almost 4.5 bln by 2030.

The aim is to increase tourist daily average spending to €90 – from €75 –  which is “entirely feasible.

A study made by a Spanish consultancy firm suggested that Cyprus could raise its income from tourism to €7 bln annually.

“The Deputy Ministry feels that with all that is happening around us, we need to be more down to earth that is why we are aiming for €4.5 bln”.

Not wanting to go into further detail, pending the official unveiling of the tourism roadmap in Parliament on 31 January, Perdios said that the strategic plan evolves around five pillars.

The ministry will be focusing on improving the seasonality of Cyprus tourism, by making the island an all-year tourism destination with more focus on rural areas.

Last year saw DPM officials concentrate on promoting Cyprus as a tourist destination in the Middle East, but 2020 will find them travelling to northern Europe, with emphasis on Scandinavia.

Special emphasis will be placed on in promoting Cyprus as a destination for special interest tourism, such as gastronomy, sports and conferences.