Tourist professionals have expressed concerns that Cyprus is moving closer to losing its target for 50% of tourist arrivals compared with 2019, as covid cases in the country are rising.
Philokypros Rousounides, General Director of the Cyprus Hoteliers Association said the situation is very worrying and very difficult, adding “it seems we are moving away from the target of achieving 50 to 55% of the 2019 tourist arrivals.”
Disrupted by the Covid pandemic, tourist arrivals in 2020 plunged by 84% compared with the record year of 2019, while spikes in Covid cases and travel restrictions in 2021 continue to weigh heavily on the sector which has a significant contribution to the island’s economy. Furthermore, the majority of tourist employees have been surviving on public income support.
“We are moving away from the good scenario and if we have a season similar to last year, some businesses may not be able to make it,” he said.
Although daily cases declined significantly following a one-month lock down, new infections have been rising for the last three days as mainly younger people dot not comply with social distancing measures, experts say.
“Many of our fellow citizens do not assume their personal responsibility of complying with social distancing and personal safety measures,” Rousounides added.
On his part Costas Papacharalambous, spokesperson for the Association of Cyprus Travel Agents said “containing our epidemiological image should be the primary concern and the people should individually comply with the basic safety measures if the spread of the pandemic is to be contained.
As the UK, Cyprus biggest tourist market remains closed, Papacharalambous said that no significant increase in arrivals from Russia (Cyprus’ second highest tourist market) can take place because of the deteriorating situation in the country while Cyprus faces competition from the Turkish market which traditionally attracted Russian tourists.
He noted that the island’s tourist sector is currently sustained by central European markets such as Poland, Romania, Germany and Austria.
In statements to CNA, Chrysemily Psilogenis General Manager of the Association of Cyprus Tourist Enterprises (STEK) said that in view of recent developments as regards tourist arrivals from Britain and the fact that Cyprus did not make the Green List, it seems that things will be very difficult in 2021 for Cyprus tourism.
Despite the fact that it is expected that the tourist season will be longer this year, she said, it does not seem that this will make a big difference.