2015 set to be a challenging year, says Yiorgos Lakkotrypis
2015 is expected to a “challenging” year for Cyprus tourism remarked Minister of Tourism, Yiorgos Lakkotrypis during his address at the annual Cyprus Hotel Association (PASYXE) meeting in Nicosia on Tuesday.
Lakkotrypis emphasised the need for the tourism sector to address the challenges through a collective effort.
“The Government and the Ministry of Tourism, in close cooperation with the Cyprus Tourism Organisation and all stakeholders from the private sector, will continue the titanic effort which began a few months ago to deal with difficulties, solve problems and take all decisions necessary to achieve satisfactorily results for 2015,” Lakkotrypis stated.
Russia continues to prove to be an uncertain feeder market for the island, with tour operators evaluating their continued cooperation there as “risky”, according to Lakkotrypis. Despite this, several agreements with Russian tour operators have been finalised, valid for a period of 16 months.
Also speaking at the event was PASYXE president, Haris Loizides, who stressed the need to expand to new markets: “Reducing our dependence on our two principal markets (Russia and the UK) and intensifying efforts to regain lost ground from our traditional markets of central and northern Europe are imperative.”
The Cyprus Tourism Organisation has already said that the sector could withstand a 25 per cent drop from Russia but no more as anything up to that could be made up from other markets.
There are “encouraging signs” from other major markets including the UK and Germany, as well as smaller emerging markets from Central Europe and the Arabian Gulf, added Lakkotrypis.
Lakkotrypis said the government had also succeeded in promoting new air routes to and from Cyprus from Barcelona, Rome, Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Vienna and other cities. Beyond that, he said there were plans for promotional campaigns which would include outdoor ads, radio and online advertising.
Indeed, in the face of the island’s ongoing efforts for wider economic recovery, the recent major investments in projects such as Agia Napa’s Makronisos Marina & Resort development, as well as the expansion of air links and the upgrade of partnerships with tourism organisations abroad, all allow for optimism moving forward and are “expected to deliver significant results.”
Referring to the sector’s performance last year, Lakkotrypis outlined that the first half of 2014 yielded satisfactory results both in terms of arrivals and revenue, with increases of six and and 12 per cent respectively. During the second half of the year, however, results were far less impressive, proof of the vulnerability of the tourism sector.