Cyprus aims to attract more than two million tourist arrivals this year, Deputy Minister for Tourism Savvas Perdios has said.
In statements following a meeting of the parliamentary committee of Commerce, Perdios recalled that after the loss of an estimated 800,000 tourists from Russia and Ukraine, tourist arrivals in 2022 could not reach the record four million of 2019 but is expected to exceed the two million arrivals of last year.
“Demand for Cyprus is high and we continue to believe that we will achieve our target for a better season compared with the one last year,” he added.
The Deputy Minister pointed out that his optimism is based on the satisfactory results of the first four months of 2022, with arrivals amounting to 70-75% of tourist arrivals compared to 2019. He said, “These numbers are a significant boost for us because in this period we were at the height of the Omicron COVID variant, imposing strict entry protocols and requiring double negative COVID tests even for vaccinated travelers. But we also had the was in Ukraine which affected many people".
Perdios also pointed out the increase in searches for Cyprus on the internet, which was more compared to searches in 2019, noting that around 20% to 25% of the losses from Russian and Ukraine tourists will be offset by arrivals from other markets such as France.
“Arrivals from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Scandinavian countries are likely to approach the numbers of 2019 or perhaps higher and this would be very good for Cyprus as we always wanted to strengthen these markets,” he went on to say.
Responding to a question, Perdios said that Cyprus should not change its stance with regard to the sanctions against Russia for the sake of tourist arrivals as Cyprus’ image in many countries is also affected by its attitude over the war in Ukraine.
Russia was traditionally Cyprus’ second largest market after the United Kingdom.