New prospects for tourist arrivals from France have opened both in the short-term and medium-term, Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios has told CNA, noting that Cyprus has managed to break into the French market after three long years.
In statements to CNA from Paris, where he is holding meetings with the country`s tour operators, Perdios said that last year, which was a year with limited connectivity, a mere 35,000 tourists arrived in Cyprus from France, while this year there are 100,000 available seats in five direct weekly flights connecting Cyprus with the main cities of France.
"Because of this, we anticipate an increase in arrivals from France this year and we hope that it will make up for the loss of Russian tourists due to the war in Ukraine," -Perdios
Following the coordinated efforts by the Deputy Ministry, the Ministry of Transport and Hermes Airports in recent years, there are now 20 flights per week to and from France. Two years ago, however, there was no direct connectivity which is, according to the Minister, a great improvement. Five airlines, he added, (Wizz Air, EasyJet, Ryanair, Tus and Transavia) will connect Cyprus with Paris, Marseilles, Toulouse, Lyons and Strasbourg.
"Because of this, we anticipate an increase in arrivals from France this year and we hope that it will make up for the loss of Russian tourists due to the war in Ukraine," he said.
Perdios explained that these flights are regular and not chartered, adding that chartered flights will soon be discussed "if and when the market opens up as we would like."
Perdios urged all tour operators to contribute in order to support the French market initiative.
Businesses, Perdios said, should present a product that is in line with the desires of French tourists. Most are interested in culture, history, food and wine and are looking to find authenticity. This is what we should offer, he pointed out, reminding us that the Deputy Ministry has added labels such as Taste Cyprus, Cyprus Breakfast, Wine Routes, Commandaria Route, Nature Trails and Authentic Routes.
"I believe that many improvements have taken place in the last two years which can create interest in this market," he noted.
The Deputy Minister called on Cypriot hoteliers to get in touch with the Tour Operator Association of France, adding that its President will be visiting Cyprus at the beginning of June in order to discuss what French tourists want, what can be offered by hotels and what investments could take place in the future by French tour operators in Cyprus, as was the case with British and Russian tour operators in recent years.
"We have been trying to break into this market for three years and I believe that this year we will manage to do so," he added.