Best tourist season since 2019

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Tourism Minister Costas Koumis says there are “very good numbers” this tourist season, exceeding Cyprus’ target of a 5% to 10% annual increase in tourist arrivals.

His Deputy Ministry is collaborating with the Cyprus Hotels Association (PASYXE) to address the industry’s long-standing problems, such as employment and the licensing framework.

PASYXE President Thanos Michaelides said that following the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cypriot accommodation industry faces a deficit of 5,000 staff, calling for swift and flexible decisions.

The challenges facing the key tourist industry were discussed Thursday during a meeting between President Nikos Christodoulides and the new board of PASYXE with Koumis.

On this year’s tourist season, Koumis said arrivals for the seven months are up by an annual 27% while revenue increased by 30%.

And this year is 2% below the 2019 benchmark when Cyprus welcomed a record 3.97 million visitors, despite the lack of Russians.

It was the second-largest tourist market until Russia invaded Ukraine last year.

“There is no doubt that we are going through a very good tourist season, and as a member of PASYXE noted, we have covered the gap in the tourist market.

“The tourism industry has amassed a series of problems and issues which we are called to solve and to manage.”

Koumis said staff shortages in the tourism sector are worldwide due to the spike in tourist flows, especially after the pandemic.

Thanos Michaelides expressed satisfaction over the tourist season so far, coming very close to 2019 figures.

“I believe we have surpassed the quality of tourists compared with 2019, which is more important than the absolute numbers of arrivals.”

He predicted that in 2024, Cyprus will surpass the 2019 record due to the “very good momentum” improved air connectivity, especially during winter, which will assist arrivals next summer.

Michaelides called for flexibility and swift decisions on labour shortages, noting that since the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourist industry faces a shortage of approximately 5,000 people.

“We need to understand there is a large shortage of labour in Cyprus, which, if not solved, surely will harm the tourist industry”.