The year 2015 has been positive for Cypriot tourism, despite challenges caused mainly by problems with the Russian market, concluded the country’s Tourism Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis at a press conference during this year’s World Travel Market in London.
The main reason for the positive outcome has been a surge in arrivals from the UK. As the minister said, the meetings organised within the framework of the annual exhibition were held “under the light of a very good year in terms of the British market.” He pointed out that the number of British tourists travelling to Cyprus in 2015 has increased significantly for the first time in years, with more than 1 million arrivals expected by the end of the year.
In total, tourist arrivals in Cyprus will be around 2.6 million at the end of the current year, said the minister.
Based on data covering the first nine months of the current year, arrivals from the UK recorded a 18% year-on-year rise. There has also been a rise in visitors from Germany, Israel and the Arab countries.
Russia has been a source of concern as arrivals have decreased by 17% to 20% in 2015, while a small fall has been recorded in arrivals from Scandinavia. However, the slightly negative picture regarding the Nordic countries is considered to be a temporary lull by the people in charge of Cyprus’s tourism. “In spite of these falls,” noted Lakkotrypis, “we are still coming to a positive year end.”
He attributed the significant rise in arrivals from the UK to the government’s and the Cyprus Tourism Organisation’s strategy of “re-investing” in traditional tourist pool markets such as the British and the German ones, the favourable exchange rate between the pound and the euro, as well as the decreased fuel prices which have lowered the airlines’ cost of flying to Cyprus.
The Cypriot Tourism Minister expressed his optimism over the “quite promising” indications regarding 2016, with initial bookings from the UK also up.
He made a special reference to the fact that there has been an increased interest in bookings for March and November, the two months which have been identified as a first stage priority in the plan to expand the season beyond summer months in Cyprus.
During his presence at the World Travel Market Lakkotrypis held meetings with EasyJet, Thomas Cook, Jet2, Monarch and TUI. He also met with representatives of the Association of Greek and Cypriot Travel Agents in the UK and the delegations of Cypriot tourism agencies in order to inform them on the results of his meetings with airlines and travel agencies.
Cyprus participates in this year’s World Travel Market at east London’s Excel Centre with dozens of stands, with exhibitors including hotels and resorts, regions, agrotourism agencies and Paphos 2017.
Minister Lakkotrypis has been accompanied by the President of CTO Angelos Loizou and the Acting Director General Annita Demetriadou.
The World Travel Market runs until Thursday.
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY