Hotels in the Famagusta district are concerned that the political situation in Ukraine will negatively affect expected tourism arrivals from there for the coming summer season.
Director of the area’s Tourism Development and Promotion Company Lakis Avraamides told Larnaca Press on Monday they had been expecting as many as 60,000 arrivals from Ukraine this summer.
In 2012 around 20.000 Ukrainians visited Cyprus. Last year this had risen to over 30,000. Now with 18 weekly flights from various airlines in Ukraine and Hungary, the number was expected to jump to 60,000 for 2014.
The Ukrainian market in closely linked with the Russian market in terms of trends. The Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) predicts a 25 per cent increase in Russian tourists, with 800,000 expected this year following the recent agreement between the two countries to liberalise flights. Cyprus and Ukraine have also recently agreed to an open skies policy. Ukrainian International Airlines have flights between Larnaca and Kiev during winter, with Wizz Air starting flights from Donetsk next month.
Authorities also took steps in 2012 to make it easier for Ukrainian tourists to come to Cyprus by introducing faster and more efficient online tourist visa applications. Cypriot companies are the biggest foreign investors in Ukraine, and the two countries have a solid and growing financial relationship, while the CTO has a Kiev office to encourage visits.
The Famagusta area Tourism Development and Promotion Company have also been participating in tourism fairs in Ukraine. The next fair is scheduled for Kiev from March 26-28 but there is no firm confirmation that it will take place due to the political instability.