Cyprus airports operator Hermes is optimistic about tourism prospects for 2023, confident the island can improve from the previous year.
In an interview with news site Stockwatch, Hermes Airports senior manager Maria Kouroupi said that available data support the industry’s hopes for the continuation of a steady recovery in 2023 following three very challenging years.
Kouroupi said that during the past three years, data was constantly changing, “but that pushed us all to cooperate more closely, to look for solutions and new approaches, in the way we promote Cyprus and our targets”.
Following the coronavirus pandemic, the island lost a fifth of its tourist traffic due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Some 800,000 arrivals from Russia and Ukraine were written off after the war broke out and sanctions were imposed on Moscow.
“But we (stakeholders) worked together in a methodical and timely manner to fill this gap with flights and passengers from other destinations, hence 2022 ended with 9.2 million passengers passing through Cyprus’ airports, approximately 82% of passenger traffic in 2019,” said Kouroupi.
“Stakeholders focused on strengthening connections with destinations in the European Union, countries in the Middle East and the Gulf, without neglecting the island’s largest market, the UK”.
She noted that connectivity had been significantly enhanced with direct connections to 38 countries with 140 destinations carried out by some 50 airlines.
“The countries that stood out and continue to record an upward trend in 2023 – beyond the UK – are Poland, France, and Italy, while the mobility from countries such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland were also notable.
“After the very positive results of the summer, the year that ended was finally crowned with success, both for Hermes and for Cypriot tourism, laying the foundations for a similar or even better course in 2023, despite the challenges that continue to prevail”.
Kouroupi said the industry’s goal for 2023 is to push arrivals to the record-breaking levels of 2019 when Cyprus welcomed 3.97 million tourists.
“Of course, at the core of our efforts and strategy remain the constant and continuous efforts to upgrade the travel experience we offer our passengers.
“At the same time, we are trying to expand existing routes and penetrate additional markets.”