Cyprus faces the risk of losing the Israeli market, the second largest tourist source, if the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues into the new season, said Tourism Minister Costas Koumis.
He said the deputy ministry is making contacts to mitigate the losses.
“Given everything that is taking place in Israel or in case the war does not end by the start of the next tourist season, we risk losing our second largest market,” Koumis told reporters Wednesday.
Until September, 368,000 Israeli tourists – big spenders on short stays — have arrived this year for a holiday.
“It is a market with special characteristics, such as the short length of stay with an average of 4.7 days, a market that operates along the line of short breaks that Cyprus, as a tourist destination, has been seeking for years, and can hardly be replaced, said Koumis.”
He did not suggest that Cyprus would lose 400,000 tourists, which is broadly the dynamic of this market, “but it is a market with unique characteristics that has no equal”.
Koumis said there are negotiations with other markets to increase their capacity.
He will be in London next week for the WTM exhibition, where there will be meetings with partners who are active in the UK and other countries.
Asked about which markets could help mitigate the situation, Koumis said that Poland has greatly increased tourist arrivals, as have many other countries, particularly three of the four Scandinavian countries, Switzerland and France.
Koumis announced the launch of a project to upgrade catering facilities and traditional food outlets, with a budget of €3.6 mln supported by funds from the EU Recovery and Resilience Plan.
Beneficiaries are all hospitality centres holding restaurant or tavern licences, unlike last year, when only restaurants and taverns with the approved menu based on Cypriot cuisine were entitled.