By Evie Andreou
TRAVEL agents are offering reduced holiday packages to travelling Cypriots this summer, the Association of Cyprus Travel Agents (ACTA) said on Wednesday.
At a press conference to announce the opening of the 17th annual travel exhibition, Taxidi 2014 on Friday, ACTA’s president Victor Mantovani said there had been a 10% increase on outgoing travels in the first three months of this year and that more Cypriots travelled abroad during Easter than they had in 2013.
He urged the public to visit the exhibition, which will be held at Philoxenia conference centre in Nicosia. The exhibition will be opened by Energy and Tourism Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis at 5pm.
Marios Hannides, Director General of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) said that Cyprus has many benefits compared to other destinations but that it needed to introduce other alternatives to sun and sea like health tourism, religious tourism and sports tourism.
Exhibitors at Taxidi will give information on outgoing travel packages as well as on local tourism. There will be offers and draws for free plane tickets, cruises and stays in Cyprus hotels and other surprises, said Mantovanni.
Among the participants there will be local hotel associations, tourism development and promotion companies, airlines, tourism oriented organisations and local authorities. Participants from Greece, Israel and India will also exhibit.
As regards the absorption of unemployed people in the tourism sector, Hannides said that more EU nationals work in the sector than Cypriots and that the CTO was cooperating with the ministry of labour to encourage hotel owners and the tourism industry to hire more Cypriots.
Another measure to give Cypriot job seekers an advantage will be the knowledge of the Greek language a requirement for hiring, which is being discussed at the House Labour Committee. Knowledge of Greek is important in certain professions because it is also a matter of safety, said Hannides. Inadequate communication could cost the life of hotel customers, he added.
Mantovanni added that tourists visiting Cyprus complain that they have little interaction with the local population, so more Cypriots needed to be employed in the sector.