Tourism boss Savvas Perdios is confident that Cyprus will have a better season than in 2021, despite the war in Ukraine and sanctions imposed on its second-largest market Russia.
Talking before the House on Tuesday, the Deputy Minister of Tourism said the island expects to welcome well over two million tourists in 2022 – below the record 4 million in pre-COVID 2019.
Still struggling with coronavirus restrictions last year, Cyprus received 1.936 mln tourists, half of the 3.97 million who visited in 2019.
Perdios said that predictions are risky as the situation is still volatile due to the COVID pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
He said Cyprus is obligated to follow the rest of the bloc when it comes to EU sanctions on Russia for the invasion of Ukraine.
Perdios said Cyprus got off to a strong start in the first quarter of the year, as arrivals from January to April reached close to 75% of those recorded in 2019.
However, the strong start to the season was offset by the war in Ukraine.
The sanctions on Russia meant a loss of 800,000 visitors from Russia and Ukraine.
Pre-COVID, 33.5% of Cyprus’ four mln tourists in 2019 came from its largest market, the UK and 19.7% from Russia.
The government believes the gap could be covered by an inflow from the UK, Israel, and other destinations recently added to Cyprus’ flight schedule.
“Arrivals from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Nordic countries will probably approach the arrivals of 2019, while some may manage to exceed the levels of 2019,” said Perdios.
Cyprus tourism stakeholders are moving ahead with their plans of rebranding the island’s tourist product.
Perdios was in the House to promote a bill greenlighting hostels for tourists and luxury camping sites known as glamping.
Glamping is a luxury type of camping that includes facilities and accommodation considered far more comfortable than traditional sites.
The debate over the bill is in its final stages, and it is expected to be tabled before the Plenary for a vote before the summer recess.
Stepping into this sector of the market will upgrade Cyprus as a tourist destination, offering travellers more options.
In Cyprus, 20 hostels are operating outside any legal framework.