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COVID19: Cyprus says 60% dip in tourism best to hope for

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Cyprus expects a 60% drop in arrivals or 1.5 million tourists in the best-case scenario due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios told CNA.
Cyprus welcomed a record of 3.97 million tourists in 2019.

Perdios said that Cyprus’ basic scenario provides for the inflow of tourists to begin in July according to an extraordinary action plan drafted for 2020.

The Deputy Minister for Tourism said the base case scenario for 2020 provides for a drop of 60% or 1.5 million tourists, a reduction expected to be recovered in the next two or three years.

“Changes to Cyprus’ national strategy for tourism are necessary if we want to achieve recovery next year.”

“If for whatever reason we will not be able to receive the first tourists in July and tourist inflow begins in August or September the action plan’s timeframes will be moved accordingly,” he added.

Perdios noted that all tourist stakeholders have been briefed on the 2020 action plan, which will be implemented on the condition that “if all goes well, we will be able to receive the first tourists in July.”

“Our basic advertising campaign both at home and abroad, which will begin at the end of May and run throughout June, based on this condition.”

The reduction in tourist inflow, follows flight bans and tour package cancellations as countries went into lockdown.

“It is imperative to broaden our horizons in the next two years with all those incorporated in our national strategy for tourism to contemplate how to change our product with a view to broadening our markets and targets,” said Perdios.

“A big change in the next two years is that visitors will be more selective and hesitant in visiting crowded tourist destinations and we should change our mode of operation,” he added.

On the 2021 season, Perdios said: “If we want to achieve recovery, we will be required to make the necessary changes in our tourist product so we can attract tourists from different age groups and nationalities as well as different forms of tourism.”

On domestic tourism, Perdios said starting from June, provided that containment measures are lifted, the Deputy Ministry will launch a scheme to support social tourism for pensioners, people with disabilities or vulnerable families in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour.

A scheme for organised tours will begin in June while the Deputy Ministry will bring back a subsidy scheme for “short escapes”.

“These incentives aim to strengthen domestic tourism throughout Cyprus, including mountainous areas, rural areas and remote areas.”

The Deputy Ministry will beef up incentives for sports tourism, training camps, culture and conference tourism.

“Under normal circumstances, these incentives would begin in October, but they will be expedited due to the extraordinary circumstances caused by the coronavirus outbreak.” (source CNA)