This year will be written in gold in the annals of Cypriot tourism, as one record follows another, acting director of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) Annita Demetriades said on Tuesday.
Speaking on the occasion of World Tourism Day, Demetriades presented this year’s record figures, reaffirmed the CTO’s commitment to work hard in ensuring that next year is as successful, and explained the organisation’s efforts with regard to accessible tourism.
“Our estimate is that, for the first time, we will break the three-million arrivals barrier” this year, she said.
“With regard to revenues, things are also turning out well, as we expect the increase rate relative to last year to be in the double digits.”
According to the stats, every month in 2016 saw an increase, while this year’s January to August period has been the best ever recorded in terms of arrivals.
Over this time, arrivals increased by 19.2 per cent, to an unprecedented 2.2 million.
The last four months, Demetriades added, from May to August, were the most successful ever recorded in Cypriot tourism, while July 2016 was the single best month ever in terms of arrivals.
“With regard to revenues, the first six months of the year saw an increase of 13.7 per cent, and we think the final number will exceed €2.3 billion,” she said.
This year’s World Tourism Day is dedicated to universal accessibility, and Demetriades said Cyprus has some way to go on issues of accessibility to tourism-related areas and services.
According to the CTO, 95 per cent of Cyprus’ hotels have common areas accessible to handicapped people, but the problem is with hotel rooms, where only a limited number are appropriate.
CTO board member Irodotos Irodotou said that improvements on accessibility issues could spark an increase in demand and revenues up to 24 and 18 per cent, respectively, within the next six years.
Demetriades also announced the start of the new phase of the “highly successful programme ‘Short Escapes – Great Experiences’, which has been embraced by Cypriots and foreigners living here since autumn 2008”.
The new phase, she said, offers affordable weekend holiday packages through a dedicated online booking system. More information on the programme is available at www.cyprusshortescapes.com.
Demetriades also presented a survey on domestic tourism, as “the Cyprus market is a high-priority and significant market to the CTO”.
She said Cypriots and foreigners living in Cyprus comprised around six per cent of total stays.
The survey, conducted by Conread Market Research, focused on domestic tourism in non-peak months.
Managing director Lysandros Hadjilambrou said it covered non-peak months, meaning autumn, winter, and spring, from 2014 to 2016.
Over half of 1,560 respondents stated that they stayed outside their district of residence, with Paphos and Limassol by far the most preferable destinations, and Larnaca and Nicosia the least preferable.
Lodging facilities and restaurants were the channels of tourist products most widely used, he noted, with attractions visited only by one in five.
However, the value-for-money criterion was the lowest-rated, according to the survey, raising red flags for the CTO.