Nine incentive schemes promoting the development and boosting of targeted forms of tourism were approved by Cabinet on Monday, when the Cyprus statistical service (Cystat) announced that Cyprus marked a 79.9% drop in arrivals in 2020 compared to the year before.
The deputy ministry of tourism announced that the new schemes include both new plans and upgraded versions of previous plans that form part of the 2030 National Tourism Strategy.
The plans provide incentives for the organization of conferences and meetings, as well as events for the promotion of wine and local products, international sports events, while another plan provides incentives for foreign sports teams, clubs, and associations to pick Cyprus as their host for training and preparation.
Another scheme provides incentives for the certification of recreational diving services in Cyprus, and an additional scheme provides incentives for hosting cruise ships in Cyprus, while another targets the organization of familiarization trips for special forms of tourism.
An additional scheme promotes the creation and upgrade of infrastructure and facilities related to urban tourism, while a similar scheme targets tourism infrastructure and facilities in municipalities and communities.
"Beyond the specialized objectives served by each plan, the deputy ministry is generally aiming, through their implementation, at upgrading the tourist product and attracting larger flows of visitors to our country outside the peak period", the tourism deputy ministry said.
Cystat gives figures behind tourism slowdown amid pandemic
Arrivals to Cyprus in 2020 plummeted by 79.9% compared to 2019, while the number of people departing from the country also recorded a drop of 80.1%, data released by the Cyprus Statistical Service (CyStat) on Monday show.
Arrivals in December 2020 reached 30,099 compared to 273,714 in December 2019, recording a decrease of 89.0%.
The decrease is mainly attributed to the drop in tourist arrivals (91.2%) as well as to the decrease in the return of residents of Cyprus (87.6%). Concerning the departures of travellers from the island, a decrease of 88.6% was recorded in December 2020 as compared to the corresponding month of 2019.
During the period of January – December 2020, arrivals reached 1,161,079 compared to 5,777,029 in the corresponding period of 2019, recording a decrease of 79.9%. Concerning the departures of travellers during the same period, a decrease of 80.1% was also recorded.
CyStat notes that during the period 15/3 - 8/6/2020, an entry ban in the Republic of Cyprus, was imposed on several categories of persons, including tourists, as part of the measures taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week, Cyprus imposed a mandatory 72-hour quarantine period on all airport arrivals flying in from categories A and B, as well as a mandatory PCR test at the end of those three days.
Since late December, Cyprus has put forth tighter measures for arrivals from the UK including a mandatory seven-day quarantine period at local hotels and a mandatory PCR test with the completion of the one-week isolation period.
Since December 21, when the measure entered into force, over 15,000 arrivals from the UK have been tested, detecting 133 positive cases.
In late January, the Transport Ministry said it was planning to reopen airports for visitors from all countries by March, though it remains to be seen whether this will remain the case in view of the new strains currently plaguing other countries.