Paphos has hosted 3.9 million tourists in the first three quarters of the year, a 7.1 per cent increase on last year’s figures, of whom half came from the United Kingdom and about a third from Russia, Cyprus Tourism Organisation boss Angelos Loizou said on Saturday.
Addressing the Paphos tourism promotion board annual general meeting, the CTO chief said Paphos hotels showed occupancy rates of 63.7 per cent from January to September, whereas occupancy rates throughout 2015 were at 60.5 per cent.
The organisation, he said, has been fully supportive of Paphos’ tourism strategy, funding cultural events by the area’s communities.
Paphos’ selection as European cultural capital 2017, with all the various actions and planning that go with it, Loizou said, has prompted closer cooperation between the city’s tourism promotion board and the CTO.
“We are convinced that all tourism bodies, wherever we operate, will continue the effort to safeguard the smooth functioning of the tourism industry in Cyprus, and there will be outstanding cooperation for its implementation under the new Tourism Strategy,” he said.
In his own address, the promotion board’s chairman Andreas Demetriades said that Paphos in 2015 recorded over 1 million arrivals and €800 million in revenues.
In the first nine months of 2016, he added, there had been an increase of 18.8 per cent in arrivals and 13.6 per cent in revenues, and he wished for even better results in 2017.
Demetriades said that the positive results of 2015 and 2016 are due to a combination of factors, including the offering of substantial and attractive financial incentives by the CTO to travel agents and airlines, recent events in the Middle East, international sanctions, efforts by hoteliers, the strengthening of the Russian and British markets, and the continuing frequent flights by Ryanair, Easyjet and other airlines.
In contrast, he noted, Paphos’ tourism is facing several problems and weaknesses, like one-dimensional development, damage to the environment and cultural identity, high operating costs, seasonality, dependence on a limited number of travel agents, and over-dependence on the British market, which presents with uncertainty due to currency exchange rate fluctuations.
Demetriades said that the tourism board’s key priorities include further developing accessibility through the addition of new flight routes and direct flights, strengthening competitiveness, intensifying promotion efforts, upgrading the tourist product on offer, carrying out pending infrastructure projects, construction of the Potima marina, further developing agrotourism, and the creation of docks in Paphos and Latchi for cruise-ships.