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Cyprus

New academy will help boost tourism sector

By Angelos Anastasiou

The Airtravel Aviation Academy has announced the launch of its operations, providing specialised professional training in the fields of tourism and air transport.

Offering diplomas and two-month courses in a number of air-transport and tourism support functions, the academy prides itself of being the only one in Cyprus and the wider Middle East area that is accredited by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) – the global trade association for the world’s airlines.

In a press conference yesterday, head Evros Konsolos described the establishment of the academy as part of the fight against unemployment in Cyprus, stressing the fact that graduates would enjoy a comparative advantage versus those of non-IATA-accredited institutions upon entering the labour market, not only due to the weight of IATA accreditation but also because the academy promises assistance to future graduates in search of employment.

“We hope that our hard work can attract students from the wider Middle East area, but mainly that we can equip Cyprus’s youth, faced with devastating unemployment, sufficiently”, Konsolos said.

Konsolos also explained that following a 2001 agreement between IATA and Harvard University, academy students can choose to acquire the university’s Leadership and Management diploma in parallel with their studies.

Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) director Marios Hannides, under whose auspices the event was held, congratulated the academy for their innovative efforts, and expressed cautious optimism for expected revenue from tourism in 2014, in light of an 8.5 per cent increase in government revenue from tourism in 2013 compared to 2012 released by CyStat yesterday.

“Any effort that promotes tourism and alleviates unemployment through education merits the CTO’s interest. We have a duty to stand by such initiatives, which can only enhance the endeavor to elevate the quality of tourist services offered by Cyprus”, he said.

Triantafyllos Ferellis, managing director of Airline Training Centre – the academy’s strategic partner – said the school would offer prospects to young people who seek to build a career either in Cyprus or abroad.

“We believe we can offer a diploma strong enough to get us out of the financial crisis”, Ferellis declared.

The conference was attended by representatives of local trade unions SEK, PEO and DEOK, as well as executives from airlines, travel agencies, Hermes Airports and Swissport, while officials from the Human Resource Development Authority and the labour ministry represented the government.

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