Cyprus Mail

CTO officials want a bigger budget to promote tourism

According to CTO vice chairman Costas Koumis there will be a reduction of 2 to 3 per cent in tourist arrivals for 2015

By George Psyllides

PROMOTING the island’s tourist product must be intensified and the tourism organisation (CTO) must be given more advertising money, a CTO official said on Wednesay.

“The CTO deserves a bigger budget to be able to promote our tourist product more vigorously,” vice chairman Costas Koumis said.

Compared with six years ago, CTO’s budget has been cut to around half — €50m in 2015.

Koumis acknowledged that the state finances did not allow for such an increase, but considering the competition, it was time to review the CTO budget.

Cyprus has seen good arrivals in the past couple of years, mainly due to an increase in tourists from Russia, but the Ukrainian crisis is expected to have a negative effect on this market in 2015.

The CTO hopes that the drop in Russian tourists would be limited to between 20 per cent and 30 per cent.

A 25 per cent drop from Russia means 159,000 less tourists compared with 2014, Koumis said. The CTO, he added, is focusing efforts on other markets to offset any losses.

A rise of 30,000 tourists is expected from neighbouring Israel, 10,000 from Germany, 10,000 from Switzerland, and 5,000 from Austria.

Officials were also expecting an increase in flow from Poland, the Czech Republic, and France.

On the downside, 15,000 less tourists are expected from Scandinavian countries.

“The CTO expects the total reduction in 2015 to be between 2.0 per cent to 3.0 per cent but we must not forget that the tourist market is a dynamic market,” Koumis said.

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