Travel agents welcome free museum entry

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The Association of Cyprus Travel Agents (ACTA) has welcomed a government initiative for free entry to state museums in an attempt to boost visits and upgrade the overall tourism package.

Nicosia’s new policy on museums is to allow free access “very soon” with new regulations that will be fast-tracked for a quick parliament vote.

Museums are expected to allow visitors in for free before the end of 2020.

Following a cabinet decision on Thursday, some 12 museums under the jurisdiction of the Department of Antiquities will be allowing visitors in for free while also extending the opening hours.

Authorities are also to consider accommodating special events at a limited number of venues or monuments in the future.

The cabinet also decided that authorities should look into how interactive applications could be utilised at museums and archaeological sides to offer visitors a better experience.

“Enriching visitors experience and offering them the chance to interact with the exhibits will upgrade Cyprus tourism product as a whole,” ACTA said.

ACTA also welcomed the government’s intentions to allow events such as weddings to take place at archaeological sites.

Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said that it was “unacceptable” that a country with about 4 mln tourists a year under pre-COVID-19 circumstances, would have about 1 mln visitors to archaeological sites, yet museum attendance was a mere 83,000 last year in all the 12 national museums.

“About 40,000 of these visitors were to the Cyprus Museum [in Nicosia], while the Paphos and Larnaca museums remain shut, traditionally attracting some 6,000 and 3,000 visitors a year, respectively. This is very disappointing,” Karousos told CyBC radio last week.

The 12 museums are

  • Cyprus Museum – Nicosia
  • Ethnological Museum – House Hadigeorgaki Kornesiou – Nicosia
  • Museum of Traditional Embroidery – Lefkara
  • Local Ethnological Museum of Fikardo
  • Archaeological Museum of Larnaca
  • Archaeological Museum of Limassol
  • Archaeological Museum of Paphos
  • Local Archaeological Museum of Curium
  • Local Archaeological Museum Marios Arsinoe’s – Polis Chrysochous
  • Local Archaeological Museum of Ancient Idalio
  • Folk Art Musuem of Geroskipou
  • Cyprus Railway Museum – Evrychou