In June 2021 at the 43rd conference of the Pancyprian Hoteliers Association, it may have been the first time it was officially made clear that the markets of Russia and Britain will no longer be a one-way street for the Cypriot tourism industry. As part of the conference, the Deputy Minister of Tourism indicated that over the next twelve months, efforts would be focused on the European market, which would provide a stable travel framework to gain shares of the tourism pie when the sector unlocks in 2022. The position was supported by PASYXE at the time. The same position was also expressed during yesterday's extraordinary general assembly of PASYXE, both by its president Harry Loizidis and at the level of the Deputy Ministry, since so far the investment in European markets has worked out well for us. Specifically, 40% of tourist arrivals in Cyprus come from EU countries, while compared to 2019, this is an increase of 22% or 160 thousand more tourists compared to pre-pandemic levels. It is therefore estimated that by the end of the year, the European market will cover around 25% of the arrivals from the Russian market. According to the statistics, the largest increase compared to 2019 was recorded in Poland with +134%. France follows with a 100% growth rate, arrivals from Denmark and Hungary increased by 70%, at +57% are arrivals from Austria, +52% from Italy, 26% from Germany and 22% from the Czech Republic.
Winter flights are up
Whereas before the pandemic, 70% of our tourism was through tour operators and 30% individual travelers, now it is balanced at 50%-50%.
There is also some satisfaction with the flight schedule so far in the winter season. According to data announced at the extraordinary general assembly of PASYXE, Savvas Perdios, this winter and specifically in December, more than 230 flights to European destinations are scheduled on a weekly basis. Specifically, 65 flights from the United Kingdom, 38 from Israel, 25 from Germany, 23 from Poland, 14 from Lebanon, 13 from Austria, 13 from Romania, 12 from Moldova, 10 from Hungary, 8 from Italy, 6 from France, 6 from Serbia and so on.
The Deputy Minister pointed out that the airline schedule for this winter is very close to the 2019 schedule, not counting Russia and Ukraine, as a result of the work done together with the Ministry of Transport and Hermes Airports.
For Russia in particular, he said that in 2023 it will no longer be a surprise that the country will again be absent from the markets.
Whereas before the pandemic, 70% of our tourism was through tour operators and 30% individual travelers, now it is balanced at 50%-50%. This essentially means more interactivity between tourists and Cypriot society, businesses and experiences. For example, more tourists will now rent a car, see areas of our country and definitely spend more on our island, Savvas Perdios said. This change in the profile of tourists seems to be linked to an increase in tourism revenues, which is certainly a big goal for tourism operators. As the president of PASYXE said, since last year a positive divergence in the comparison of arrivals and revenues compared to the levels of 2019 started to become apparent. Specifically, in 2021 arrivals moved to 50% of 2019 and revenues to 57%. This year's data shows that revenue for the first half of 2022 is at 83% of 2019. At the same time, eight-month arrivals are around 75% of the same period in 2019. This gives the conclusion that revenues are on a better trajectory than arrivals, which is, as Mr. Loozidis said, a strategic goal for tourism.
[This article was translated from its Greek original]