Cyprus winter tourism relying on scheduled flights

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Tourist inflows to Cyprus this winter until next March will depend on scheduled flights due to Covid uncertainty; tour operators are reluctant to conduct charter flights.

Speaking to CNA from Munich, Deputy Minister for Tourism Savvas Perdios said this development highlights the need for a targeted promotional campaign to secure existing scheduled flights and stimulate interest for flights from other destinations.

Tourist arrivals in Cyprus in 2020 plunged by 84% amidst the disruption created by the Covid pandemic on international travel, mainly due to the cancellation of charter flights from Cyprus’ main tourist markets, the UK and Russia.

“In the winter season and perhaps up to the coming March, the basic tourist traffic towards Cyprus will be carried out through scheduled flights and not through charter flights because due to Covid tour operators are reluctant to assume the risk of charter flights,” Perdios said.

According to indications from Hermes, the Cyprus airports operator, scheduled flights to Cyprus in the winter will be significant.

“It seems that we retained a large percentage of the (current) scheduled flights.”

Perdios said this is largely due to travel stability after the implementation of the EU digital Covid certificate.

Tourist arrivals

On the tourism sector’s performance in 2021, Perdios said arrivals are estimated to be at 40% of 2019 record levels, mainly driven by arrivals in the second half of this year.

Tourist arrivals in 2019 marked a new record of 3.96 million.

Although official data on the September arrivals are not published yet, Perdios said that September arrivals were at the same levels as August.

“This means that arrivals throughout 2021 will be close to 40% of the arrivals of 2019 with September arrivals corresponding to 60% of the respective arrivals of 2019, while arrivals in October are also estimated at the same levels due to the rise in arrivals from the UK.”

Perdios said arrivals in the second half of the year would be approximately 60% of 2019 levels.