Commerce Minister presents action plan on tourism in Parliament

Commerce Minister presents action plan on tourism in Parliament

Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis has said that a study is underway on Cyprus` national tourism strategy, under the supervision of the Presidency and with the participation of the Ministries of Tourism and Finance.

Speaking on Tuesday before the House Commerce Committee, the Minister also said that if the declining tourist arrivals from Russia are contained under 25%, the numbers can be made up from other markets.

He said that a study on the reorganisation and restructuring of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation will start being implemented gradually and that another study on the national tourist strategy is under preparation.

Lakkotrypis said that in April they will proceed with the modernisation of the regulatory framework in an attempt to reduce administrative costs by 25%.

“It`s a matter of re-branding and repositioning our tourism product” he told the Committee.

The Minister disagreed with any reduction in prices in the tourist industry, adding that “we must focus on quality rather than on price”.

He assured that the CTO will continue to be the state`s advisor on tourism, but “it remains to answer what are its new responsibilities”.

The Minister noted that 2014 saw a 1.5% increase in arrivals and that total revenue was up approximately 3%, despite the problems that appeared in the last months of the year with arrivals from Russia. He added that the figures for 2015 are encouraging.

Lakkotrypis was cautiously optimistic that the drop in the numbers of Russian tourists visiting Cyprus will be restrained, noting that if it were contained under 25%, it could be made up from other markets, such as the UK which is already up by 1.5% and from Germany, Austria, Israel and The Netherlands, also presenting a slight increase.

On his part, CTO President Angelos Loizou said the trend in tourist revenue seems encouraging, noting that following more analysis of the last quarter of 2014 income from tourism increased hy 4.5%.

Zacharias Ioannides, Director General of the Cyprus Hoteliers Association, said that Russian tour operators are expecting Cyprus to support them, adding that hoteliers already offer significant discounts, especially for April, May and June, if needed.

However Ioannides said he was concerned about Cyprus` image following incidents that took place on Monday during a demonstration in Nicosia.

Hrisemily Psilogenis, Director of Cyprus Association of Tourist Enterprises, said Cyprus` competitive destinations have recorded huge increases in the number of visitors, ranging from 30% to 234% in the past fifteen years. “They must have done something better than us,” she said.