Cyprus stands to break another record for tourist arrivals in 2017 according to a representative of the Cyprus travel agents association.
“We expected arrivals to plateau but indications show that tourist arrivals have actually increased,” Association of Cyprus Travel Agents (ACTA) head Dinos Kakouras told state radio on Tuesday morning.
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Indications show that Cyprus will break last year’s record as 2016 boasted four months with arrivals of over 400,000 tourists from June-September while a fifth month, May has been added to that list in 2017.
“What remains to be seen, is the arrivals in the other months,” said Kakouras pointing out that it is vitally important to increase winter tourism in Cyprus.
According to Kakouras, the success over the last two years has been helped by the prevailing events in neighbouring countries but also to changes in the local tourist product.
“We witnessed an 8%-9% increase in tourist arrivals in 2015 before the problems started in Egypt and Turkey,” said Kakouras adding that the incentives given to hoteliers had also helped in modernising the tourist product.
“We expect hoteliers to utilise these incentives during this year’s winter months which will further improve and modernise the tourist product we have to offer,” said Kakouras referring to the government incentive scheme allowing hoteliers to expand and renovate their existing units.
“We also need to increase winter tourism and this can only be done if hotels and businesses stay open…We can’t bring tourists here in winter and apart from the hotel that they are staying in, everything else is shut.”
“We need to give tour operators incentives to bring people over during the winter months but at the same time, hoteliers would also like incentives to open their doors during the winter months.”
“We should utilise these good times to prepare for the future. The Cyprus Tourism Organisation doesn’t have the authority to do everything that is required that’s why it’s imperative for the government to create a Secretariat for Tourism,” he added.
In the meantime, the number of Cypriots travelling abroad has also increased with most preferring to travel to Greece and the number of scheduled charter flights to the Greek islands has helped in that respect.
Large numbers of Cypriots have also chosen cruises and trips to Europe while an adventurous few have chosen further destinations such as the Americas and the Far East.