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Tourism can overcome Russian sanctions

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Cyprus is confident it can still have a better tourism season than 2021, despite the war in Ukraine and sanctions imposed on its second-largest market, Russia.

In comments to the Cyprus News Agency, Deputy Minister of Tourism Savvas Perdios said the possible loss of some 800,000 visitors from Russia and Ukraine could be covered by an inflow from the UK, Israel and other destinations.

“The season will be tough, but not a total loss,” said Perdios.

“Some 600,000 tourists arrived from Ukraine and Russia last year (from a total of 1.94 million), while this year, we expected to have had around 800,000 in tourist arrivals from the two markets.

“Cyprus will definitely suffer losses in the aftermath of the war in Ukraine, with the impact being particularly felt in the Famagusta region,” said Perdios.

He said if flights were restored, Russia’s currency, the Ruble is severely hit, making travelling expensive for Russians.

“It is quite possible we might be losing out on a large number of tourists we had previously been expecting from Russia and Ukraine.”

He said it would take time to replace these countries with tourists from other markets.

Losses in tourist arrivals from Ukraine and Russia could be offset by higher volumes from Britain, where there is increasing interest in Cyprus holidays.

Perdios said the government is working hard to increase flows from Israel, Germany, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Hungary, and Sweden.

“All these markets will have between 20 and 40 flights a week.”

It compares with a peak of 100 to 120 flights a week from Russia without sanctions.

Israel is expected to do better than last year, as the market was constantly banning travel due to changing coronavirus restrictions.

“The UK market did not open before the end of August last year, while this year it was the first to lift restrictions,” said Perdios.

“So taking into consideration the expected increase in arrivals from Britain, Israel and other countries, we are optimistic that we can achieve our goal to perform better than last year.”