Tourist inflow to Cyprus in the winter time and perhaps until the coming March will be carried out with scheduled flights as tour operators due to the continuing Covid uncertainty are reluctant to plan any charter flights, Deputy Minister for Tourism Savvas Perdios has said.
Speaking to CNA from Munich, Perdios said this development highlights the need for a targeted promotion campaign with view to securing existing scheduled flights and stimulate interest for flights from other destinations.
Tourist arrivals in Cyprus in 2020 plunged by 84% amidst the disruption created by the Covid pandemic on international travel, mainly due to the cancellation of charter flights from Cyprus’ main tourist markets the UK and Russia.
“In the winter season and perhaps up to the coming March, the basic tourist traffic towards Cyprus will be carried out though scheduled flights and not through charter flights because due to Covid tour operators are reluctant to assume the risk of charter flights,” he said.
According to indications from Hermes, the Cyprus airports operator, he noted, scheduled flights to Cyprus in the winter will be significant.
“It seems that we retain a large percentage of the (current) scheduled flights,” Perdios added, noting that this is largely due the travel stability after the implementation of the EU digital Covid certificate.
Tourist arrivals to reach 40% of 2019 this year
Replying to a question on the tourism sector's performance in 2021, Perdios said that arrivals are estimated to amount to 40% of 2019, mainly driven by arrivals in the second half of this year. Tourist arrivals in 2019 marked an -time record of 3.96 million.
Although official data on the September arrivals are not published yet, Perdios said that September arrivals were at the respective levels of August.
“This means that arrivals throughout 2021 will be close to 40% of the arrivals of 2019 with September arrivals corresponding to 60% of the respective arrivals of 2019, while arrivals in October are also estimated at the same levels due to the rise in arrivals from the UK,” Perdios added, noting that arrivals in the second half of the year will amount to approximately 60% of the arrivals in 2019.