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Cyprus-Hungary sign wellness tourism MoU

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Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios and Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Peter Szijjarto signed a Memorandum of Understanding on health and wellness tourism.

From Budapest, Perdios said Cyprus wishes to gain knowledge of this growing market.

“Hungary is considered an advanced country in this field of tourism, and this would assist us in developing and promoting this sector.”

He said attaining this knowledge will help the Deputy Ministry launch a subsidy scheme to create infrastructure for health, wellness and assisted living services in Cypriot hotels.

The €10 mln scheme is included in Cyprus’ Recovery and Resilience Plan and is expected to be launched in 2023 for four years.

Perdios also visited Vienna as the European tourist markets are gaining momentum following the loss of Russian tourism, Cyprus’ second largest after the UK.

The Russian and Ukrainian market (800,000) has been lost due to the war in Ukraine and the ensuing sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU and the western countries.

Perdios said arrivals from Hungary marked a record, assisted by flights scheduled by Wizz Air and Ryanair.

“It is evident that Austria and Hungary are registering significant momentum,” Perdios said.

Arrivals from Hungary until September increased by 63% compared with 2019, while arrivals from Austria were up by 53%.

Arrivals from Poland marked the highest change, spiking at 130%, followed by France at 105%, Denmark at 63% and Germany at 28%.

Asked about the prospects for 2023, Perdios told CNA that the Deputy Ministry will wait for the final data for this year before drafting its targets for 2023.

Tourist arrivals from January to September exceeded 2.5 mln, close to 80% of 2019, Cyprus’ all-time record year.

But Perdios said 2019 could no longer be considered the benchmark for comparison due to the new reality following the Ukraine war.

“No comparison can be made with 2019 due to the lack of the Russian market.

“The new reality has more to do with 2022; we will wait years to see the numbers of 2019 concerning the Russian market,” Perdios said.

He acknowledged that 2023 would also be a difficult year but added this does not mean people will not travel due to price hikes.

Estimates show that total arrivals for 2022 will be between 75% and 80% of 2019 when 3.97 mln tourists enjoyed a Cyprus holiday.

Perdios said that tourist arrivals would mainly come from individual tourists and last-minute reservations for winter.

He pointed out airlines maintain frequent weekly schedules to Cyprus, and flights from European destinations are higher than in 2019.