The government has set the tourism sector a top priority for the country’s development during the last decade, said President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades.
In a speech at the 44th Cyprus Hotel Summit and Exhibition, organised by the Cyprus Hoteliers’ Association, he said he is convinced that the tourism industry is in a position to strengthen even more its competitive advantages and to respond to the increasing market challenges and demands.
President Anastasiades said he believes that the successful tourism policy and the unhindered implementation of the National Tourism Strategy 2020-2030 in the coming years must continue in order to secure a bright future for Cypriot tourism.
He praised the Deputy Tourism Minister for his actions, his insight and careful plans which, with the support of both the Ministries of Transport and Finance, made possible the implementation of a strategy the results of which have significantly contributed to the development of tourism.
President Anastasiades also praised the smooth cooperation of the state and private sectors.
He further referred to the sound policies followed by Cyprus which have allowed the tourism sector to achieve notable performances, with a significant increase in the sector's contribution to the country's Gross Domestic Product, improving the level of prosperity of the population, creating jobs and other important benefits for many other sectors of the economy.
President Anastasiades talked about policies which were the result of negotiations between the state, the Hoteliers’ Association and the private sector such as the incentives scheme for airlines to strengthen Cyprus’ connectivity and increase passenger traffic, granting planning incentives, launching great tourism development projects and the open skies policies in effect from November 2013. He also referred to employee training schemes with major tour operators from overseas, modernising the regulatory framework governing the licensing and operation of tourism businesses with the aim to further enhance and upgrade the competitiveness of the sector.
According to him, the highlight of the government’s policies was the establishment of a Deputy Ministry of Tourism which is of historic significance and in the first four years of its operation, has planned and implemented a complete tourism policy through the National Tourism Strategy 2020-2030.
President Anastasiades said that during times of crisis, the government provided financial assistance to businesses and workers in the tourism and hotel industry, helping its gradual recovery since 2021.
"The Government's vision through the National Strategy is to increase the contribution of tourism to the GDP and further improve the standard of living of our society", the President added.
He also said that the aim is to geographically balance the distribution of the benefits of tourism throughout the government-controlled areas of the Republic, by developing the tourism in areas that have not yet been developed, such as rural areas, mountainous communities and those areas bordering the buffer zone.
President Anastasiades pointed out that arrivals and income from tourism are expected to reach 80% and 87% respectively by the end of the year, noting that the most positive element for the country's tourism sector is the increased daily expenditure due to the purchasing power of tourists from EU countries.
At the same time, he added, through the "Cyprus-tomorrow" Plan, tens of millions of euros will be allocated to enhance the value of tourism, through sponsorship schemes to upgrade tourist accommodation and hotels in the countryside, mountainous and areas bordering the buffer zone, and also creating medical facilities and facilities for assisted living to attract medical tourism and health and wellness tourism and as well as further promoting circular economy at hotel facilities.
Meanwhile, the Cyprus Hoteliers’ Association presented President Anastasiades with an award for his cooperation and contribution to the sector in his two terms in office.
The association’s chairman, Haris Loizides, said the achievements speak for themselves and said the decision to create a Deputy Ministry of Tourism. During his speech, Loizides said that cooperation between the private and public sectors is of key significance for long-term economic prosperity and development, something that has been implemented in practice over the last decade.
He also said that tourism has been a sound pillar for the Cypriot economy and expressed optimism that after the difficult current situation, this will continue in the future.
Regarding the repercussions from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Loizides said that if you cannot avoid a crisis, the best thing you can do is to come out of it wiser. He added that based on the data, “it is obvious that we are on the right track to increase revenue beyond arrivals," and welcomed recent announcements by airlines to increase routes.