The number of tourists to Cyprus could double to 6 million in the next 15 years according to a recent study by tourism experts cited by the head of the Paphos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Andreas Demetriades.
Demetriades told the Cyprus News Agency that a key point made by the experts was that, while the global tourism had grown by 30% in recent years, it had stagnated in Cyprus.
However, the outlook for Cyprus is good, provided that the necessary measures are taken. The expert report estimates that, with the right measures, tourism arrivals could 6 million by 2030. Per capita spending on tourism, meanwhile, could rise by 15%.
Tourism arrivals have recently been accelerating. They rose by 8.9% in 2015 to reach 2.7 million and in the first seven months of 2016 rose by around 20%, meaning that total arrivals could top 3 million this year.
Demetriades said that, according to the experts, that tourism has the potential to reach 28% of GDP. In 2015, the hotel and accommodation sector reached around 7% of GDP according to statistics from the Cyprus Statistical Service Cystat, although the World Travel and Tourism Council puts the whole contribution of the Cyprus tourism sector at around 20% of GDP.
Need for a brand
The president of the Paphos Chamber said that one factor that has been missing in the Cyprus tourism sector to date is ‘branding’.
Cyprus has also depended on an exceptionally high influx of tourists from the UK. British tourists accounted for about 40% of arrivals in 2015.
The UK market is sensitive to fluctuations in UK incomes, Demetriades noted, so a fall in average household incomes tends to lead to a drop in bookings.
“Tourism in Cyprus has been based on the sun and the sea. This is obsolete for the times we live in and we will have to find other alternative forms of tourism,” he told the CNA.