Tourism stakeholders on Sunday lauded the role of the sector in helping Cyprus emerge from the financial crisis in 2013 but said more could be done.
In statements to mark World Tourism Day, September 27, the Cyprus Hotel Association PASYXE, the Association of Cyprus Tourism Enterprises STEK and the Association of Cyprus Travel Agents ACTA said the industry was a vital part of the economy.
“The economic crisis that hit the Cyprus economy has proved the capabilities and the resilience of our tourism industry,” said PASYXE chief Haris Loizides.
“Unfortunately, the economic crisis continues to affect our tourism revenues, which show an opposite mismatch as a result of the fierce competition and the differentiation in the mix of the countries of origin of our tourists,” he added.
The theme of this year’s World Tourism Day is ‘One billion tourists, one billion opportunities’. Global tourism is set to grow over 4 per cent for this year and predictions are that the number of 1 billion in 2015 would double by 2030.
ACTA’s statement said Cyprus was not getting its fair share of this growth in world tourism, but hoped that the cooperation recently developed between government, the private sector and all tourism stakeholders, would bear fruit.
“The development of tourism is everyone’s responsibility and efforts must be collective. The goal is national,” it said.
The Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) said in its statement that Cyprus had seen record numbers this year. Between January and August numbers were up 5.2 per cent compared to the same period last year, from 1.57 million for 2014 to 1.65 in the same period this year, it said.
“The CTO is convinced that with the effort and contribution of everyone, without complacency and relaxation, we can achieve even greater things, meet the challenges and seize the numerous opportunities offered by the sector,” it said.
Loizides said that he was optimistic that with in-depth study of the new global trends and with the necessary changes in public administration “and in our mentality”, Cyprus could attract quality tourism, “further contributing in the socioeconomic recovery that will propel the country to sustainable growth”.
STEK said the industry has for decades been a key pillar “supporting entrepreneurship, job creation, multi-level promotion of local communities, safeguarding the natural and cultural heritage and contributing to opportunities for shaping a better future”. “Even today, at a time when our country is facing rapid challenges, we see that tourism plays a major role in economic recovery and prosperity of our country,” it added.