Tourism: Positive messages despite coronavirus

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Cyprus tourism is experiencing a slowdown due to coronavirus, but no airline or tour operator has cancelled flights or holiday packages for the summer, said Tourism Deputy Minister Savvas Perdios.

He told CNA that during his visit to Berlin he received positive messages for the summer season, so far.

Perdios, who is still in the German capital, said the Ministry’s goal is for tourist arrivals in 2020 to remain at similar levels of last year, “we will work hard” to achieve this.

He warned it is important during this “sensitive period” to “maintain our levelheadedness” and to continue to work hard, to follow all hygiene and precautionary rules in place in the hotel and restaurant sectors for staff and visitors.

“I wish to assure everyone that the Deputy Ministry will continue to closely monitor the situation.”

Perdios travelled to Berlin despite the cancellation of the key tourist expo ITB due to coronavirus.

“We had decided that even if ITB were to be cancelled we would come.”

All meetings they had scheduled were kept and Perdios will travel to other cities for meetings with representatives from companies who did not go to Berlin.

Cyprus delegates met with tour operators TUI, DER Touristik, Schauinsland and FTI, airlines and the German Tourist Agencies Association.

“We wanted to have a fuller picture not just what goes on in Cyprus but also abroad.”

“The flow of reservations until the end of February was impressive…we have started the year with very good omens, not just from Germany but also from the British market despite Brexit.”

But “in recent days, clearly due to coronavirus the rate of reservations has dropped.”

He said a slowdown will continue in the coming weeks. “March will not be an easy month.”

Perdios said it takes “great strength to remain level-headed,” and his Deputy Ministry is trying to see the positive side of things such as the fact Cyprus “will be affected less than others.”

He said that there have been some cancellations, especially for conferences. “Business travel is always the first to suffer.”

So far in Berlin, Perdios noted that “we have taken away two very important things,” one positive and one negative.

“The negative was that this is a very sensitive period and hence the slowdown (in reservations), which means that in the next two months all destinations must work very hard to attract customers through last-minute bookings.”

He argued that as a small country, Cyprus has the advantage that it can be in constant touch will all tourism actors and partners, something which other larger competitor destinations do not have.

“We are making the most of this advantage.” (source CNA)