Tourism Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis said on Tuesday that 2018 is expected to be the third consecutive record year for tourism arrivals.
He was addressing the annual conference of the Hoteliers’ Association Pasyxe, where members set a goal of gradually reaching five million tourist arrivals per year.
Lakkotrypis said that following last year’s record 3.6million tourists, everything points ‘to another good year for Cyprus’ tourism’.
“This is evident in the increase of available airline seats to Cyprus, the agreements we achieved with foreign travel organisers and information on reservation numbers,” he said.
Last year, he said there was a 15 per cent increase in tourism arrivals and proceeds reached €2.6 billion by November 2017, far exceeding 2016.
Cyprus, he said, is much more than a ‘sea and sun’ destination and the target is to upgrade the island’s tourism product and make its development sustainable.
He added that the government’s national strategy for tourism is to be launched soon and a revised bill is to be tabled to parliament for the creation of a tourism secretariat.
The head of Pasyxe, Haris Loizides, said the goal of the tourism industry ought to be to offer a quality overall experience to visitors.
“The bet is quality and it is there we must invest. A high-quality customer service contributes to the creation of devoted customers,” he said.
Loizides called for the constant modernisation of the tourism product.
“The performance, especially of the last two years, dictates that we must manage wisely and effectively the increasing demand for 2018.”
He said that the establishment of a secretariat for tourism was imperative so that it can carry out the new national strategy of tourism. He said that among the challenges faced by the tourism industry is lack of trained staff and the need to utilise the possibilities offered by technology to offer a ‘more targeted tourism product’.
The CEO of auditing firm PwC Cyprus, Evgenios Evgeniou, said that under the World Travel and Tour Council report in the next ten years tourism will constitute more than a quarter of Cyprus’ GDP, while tourism in Cyprus will support 108,000 jobs in the next decade.
Evgeniou also called for the creation of a secretariat for tourism that will kick-start the implementation of the new national strategy which provides for the creation of a five-million tourism market.
He warned however that the positive results should not lead to complacency, as there is still a lot of room for improvement especially in relation to the quality of the services offered.