Cyprus Deputy Minister of Tourism Savvas Perdios said he received optimistic messages over this year’s tourist flows from Russia, the island’s second-largest tourist market.
Perdios is visiting Moscow for the second time in just a few weeks to meet with Russian officials, following his contacts with air carriers and tour operators.
“There’s widespread optimism in the Russian market for trips abroad and especially for Cyprus, we have always been among the top preferences of the market but especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,” Perdios told CNA, speaking from Moscow.
Perdios who has already briefed Russian tour operators and air carriers over Cyprus' new entry protocol as well as the Deputy Ministry’s extraordinary incentive scheme approved by the European Union, had contacts with the Russian Minister of Transport and the head of Russia’s Tourist Board.
He said that tourist arrivals from Russia are already underway with hoteliers reporting that they never had Russian tourists in Cyprus this time of year. He added that this is associated with his first trip to Moscow.
Regarding his contacts with Russian officials, Perdios said he conveyed a request for the recommencement of charter flights to Cyprus as well as the increase of scheduled flights from the country’s regional airports.
“These obstacles were in place last year, we asked the authorities to reconsider these two issues,” Perdios said, adding that on the Deputy Ministry’s part they briefed their spokespeople over Cyprus decision to accept the Sputnik and Sputnik light Covid vaccines as well as on Cyprus' quarantine facilities offered free of charge to tourists who contract Covid while in Cyprus.
Responding to a question, Perdios said the Russian authorities were positive over Cyprus' decisions to facilitate tourism but did not give a reply to the requests he submitted as the pandemic is handled by another committee.
Apart from flights to and from Moscow and Saint Petersburg, Cyprus is connected with another 15 cities in Russia.
Stating that it is positive that Cyprus is connected with Russia’s regional airports, Perdios said “we would like to move further by adding weekly flights from regional airports by each air carrier,” adding that if these requests are accepted, the number of Russian tourists could surpass the approximately half a million arrivals of last year.
tourist arrivals from Russia are already underway with hoteliers reporting that they never had Russian tourists in Cyprus this time of year
Perdios also said that he will be visiting Russia in June for the Economic Forum which will be held in Saint Petersburg.
Moreover, the Cypriot Deputy Minister said he is optimistic for a better year in tourism as the situation concerning traveling is normalizing due to high vaccinations.
He noted that according to data, Google searches for Cyprus have doubled or tripled compared with the respective period of last year.
“This shows people intend to travel and I believe we will do better than in 2021, due to the new protocols and our incentives,” he said.
But he noted that the Deputy Ministry will have a clearer picture by the end of March. “It is a fact, that demand is high not only for Cyprus but for traveling in general,” he said.