The Cyprus Tourism Organisation says tourist arrivals are expected to rise in 2018 despite a drop in Russian visitors to the island, while the government is moving forward with new plans for tourism on the island.
The CTO executive board met with representatives of tourism and hotel networks on the island to discuss the current year’s latest developments in bookings and reservations as well as overall potential for the year.
“Given the current data and estimates from our major tourist supplying markets, the tourism year 2018 is expected to close positively, with a potential increase in arrivals,” a CTO statement said.
According to CTO, Russian visits are down due to external factors, such as a drop in the Russian currency value and a big opening in the Turkish market made even more accessible due to a weaker Turkish lira.
But the lower number from Russia is expected to be absorbed by other upcoming and promising markets, says CTO, such as Germany, Israel, Poland, Sweden, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.
Potential growth ahead of new legislation
But potential for growth in the tourism industry has been hampered by lack of flexibility on the part of the government, something the current administration is trying to change.
The government is making good on an old promise to create an undersecretary position for tourism, essentially scrapping or severely limiting the aged CTO structure
The government is making good on an old promise to create an undersecretary position for tourism, essentially scrapping or severely limiting the aged CTO structure.
A vote for a government-sponsored bill is scheduled for June 15, and if passed, it would go into effect November 1 essentially transferring most tourism responsibilities from a large bureaucracy to a leaner structure to boost flexibility and competitiveness.
Income from tourism now accounts for about 15% of the country’s gross domestic product and is credited with underpinning a quick recovery.
A record 3.65 million tourists enjoyed a Cyprus holiday last year, spending an unprecedented 2.6 billion euros.
Tourist arrivals increased 9.7% in April reaching 314,143 compared to 286,331 in the same month last year - it was the first time the 300,000 mark had been smashed in April.