Cyprus will lose €1.5 bln in tourist income this year, but all is not lost as latest developments suggest authorities have COVID-19 under control that could usher a holiday wave from July.
Cyprus Deputy Ministry of Tourism feels the industry could start a revival sometime in July with the first, but limited, the arrival of tourists to the island, if things go to plan.
Acknowledging the importance of tourism in the efforts to jump-start the economy, the Deputy Ministry of Tourism is taking actions to help the sector prepare for ‘the day after’, both in the short and medium-term.
It has already started campaigning in selective countries while preparing packages to encourage local tourism.
Perdios noted that this would still mean that Cyprus’ economy will see a loss of €1.5 bln in income as 60% of all bookings will be cancelled.
In comments to CyBC state radio, Perdios said that he expects to see the tourist season kick-off in July at a slow pace as not all markets will have access to Cyprus.
As for the key markets, Britain, and Russia, from which Cyprus draws the largest share of tourists, they will open at a later stage.
“We hope to know in a few weeks when tourists will be able to come from these countries”.
He also hopes that not everything has been lost.
“The important thing is that travel agents have Cyprus in mind…there are positive signs from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Nordic countries, Greece, Israel and perhaps the Netherlands”.
Perdios expects to see airlines coming out with offers sometime in July.
“We are in constant contact through teleconferences with Hermes Airport, the Ministry of Transport and various airlines to decode their intentions.”
Perdios said his junior ministry will also be focusing on promoting Cyprus as a holiday destination from autumn, up until April 2021.
Local tourism will also be promoted to fill the gap from overseas visitors – although domestic tourists only account for 6%.
“This will be achieved in a targeted manner, by promoting domestic tourism programs with the revival of “short getaways”. This will include three-day and four-day holiday packages throughout the island, while also subsidising one-day excursions”.
Tourism stakeholders hit by the coronavirus crisis will be given more breathing space, as a bill is being prepared which will allow hoteliers and tour operators to issue state-backed vouchers to clients who were forced to cancel their trip to Cyprus.