Cyprus Deputy Ministry for Tourism has achieved its target for tourist arrivals exceeding those of 2021 and its gearing for a “difficult 2023” with the EU markets as its main focus, Deputy Minister Savvas Perdios told CNA, on Thursday.
Tourist arrivals in January – August exceeded 2.12 million surpassing the arrivals of last year with market participants estimated that tourist arrivals until the end of the year may reach at 75% or 80% of 2019 a record year in tourist arrivals for Cyprus.
Following Russia’s invasion in Ukraine and the ensuing western sanctions against Moscow, the Deputy Ministry drafted a plan B focusing on EU markets which could offset losses of the Russian tourist market, Cyprus second largest tourist pool.
“The greatest opportunity for Cyprus in the coming years comes from the EU, this is evident,” Perdios told CNA from France, noting that Cyprus may lagging about 21% in tourist arrivals compared with 2019, but arrivals from EU markets are up by 22%, as momentum from the EU markets is great.”
He said that arrivals from Germany in the first eight months of 2022 are up by 26% compared the respective period of 2019, arrivals from France by 100%, Austria 57%, Denmark by 70%, Italy 52%, 30% from the Netherlands and 60% from the Czech Republic.
Recalling that Cyprus said it could offset about 200,000 arrivals from the estimated 800,000 lost from the Russian market, the Deputy Minister noted that “we achieved 160,000 in the eight months of 2022.”
Perdios also called all tourist stake holders to adjust their plans to the EU market in the mid of the geopolitical crisis.
“In the mid of the geopolitical crisis with the war in Ukraine, it is important to invest in the EU markets and this is evident from the data on arrivals,” he went on to say.
However, Perdios acknowledged that 2023 will be difficult as the Ministry does not factor in any arrivals from Russia.
“It is very important that we have attained our target (for this year) in a period of eight months and this allows us to push for the remaining four months of the year and to start investing in 2023 which will be difficult,” he said.
The Deputy Minister said emphasis will be placed on the same countries as this year, as well as Saudi Arabia as direct flights are scheduled to begin, noting that “fresh markets” such as France are expected to have a positive contribution.
Moreover, he pointed out that arrivals from France between May and August 2022 were at a historic high, doubling since 2019 and reaching about 50,000. This outcome, he explained, was aided by new flights between the two countries, which are expected to continue in the winter time.
“We feel that there are significant prospects in France and we’ve stated that six months before direct flights began and this momentum is now confirmed,” he said.