There is a need for quality tourism in Cyprus as well as one that can be resilient in the face of a continuing crisis, Cypriot Minister of Transport, Communications and Works Yiannis Karousos and Deputy Minister for Tourism Savvas Perdios pointed out today at a conference organized by the Cyprus Tourism Association (STEK). The conference was entitled: "Tourism: The Next Day".
Addressing the conference, Karousos said quality tourism is attracted through a holistic tourist experience and underlined that “without air connectivity, we will not see quality tourism.”
Following a record-year in tourist arrivals in 2019, Cyprus tourism in 2020 recorded one of the worst seasons historically in the midst of travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, while in 2021 tourist arrivals recovered to approximately half of 2019 levels.
Karoussos mentioned the “noteworthy effort” carried out by his Ministry, the Deputy Ministry for Tourism, Hermes Airports, and other stakeholders to boost Cyprus’ air connectivity with increased tourist markets.
“In the middle of the crisis we managed to have more available destinations and more options compared with 2019,” he said, adding that in 2021 Cyprus had air connectivity with 158 destinations, while in 2019, Cyprus’ best ever year in terms of tourism and passenger traffic, Cyprus had connections with just 150 destinations.
He also recalled Cyprus’ initiative over the Declaration on Air Connectivity which has been endorsed by 13 EU member-states calling on the European Commission to submit a plan to support the recovery of air transport (due to the pandemic) and to provide member-states with the tools to support air connectivity.
On his part, Perdios said the Deputy Ministry’s aim is to make Cyprus tourism more resilient so it can cope with various crises which will continue to arise.
"We don’t simply say we are an island offering only sun and sea...Cyprus is an island where you can enjoy its rich history, delve into its culture and experience one-of-a-kind adventures,”
He also referred to the Ministry’s initiatives such as the creation of certified theme parks, maintaining the highest number of blue flags on clean seas and improved gastronomy such as the “Cyprus breakfast” which could improve the tourist’s experience in Cyprus.
“Our promotion of Cyprus abroad has changed. We don’t simply say we are an island offering only sun and sea. What we are saying is that Cyprus is an island where you can enjoy its rich history, delve into its culture and experience one-of-a-kind adventures,” he said.
On her part, Angela Gerekou, President of the Hellenic Tourist Organisation (EOT) said that the next day for Cyprus tourism could become a “success story.”
The Covid-crisis and the current crisis in Ukraine, she said, could bring about a new form of crisis, namely of a humanitarian, financial and geopolitical nature.
This crisis, she said, “shows how vulnerable we are and how vulnerable tourism is and how resilient tourism becomes when tackling these crises.”