The Cyprus Tourism Organisation’s (CTO) criticism of ignorant politicians who argue it has failed its mission was directed at House finance committee members, not Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides, board chairman Angelos Loizou said on Wednesday.
Local daily Phileleftheros on Wednesday ran a story claiming that, in a letter to parliament, Loizou was “photographing” Petrides without naming him.
Speaking on state radio on Wednesday morning, the CTO chief dismissed any notion of accusing Petrides of undermining the organisation.
“Something must be wrong with our camera, because we couldn’t possibly have photographed the one man who is trying to upgrade the CTO,” Loizou joked.
“We sent this letter to parliament, as we routinely do in our effort to brief MPs of our actions and any given issues, so that they are properly informed of the actions and results the CTO has undertaken.”
According to Loizou, members of the House finance committee, which has started discussion on a government proposal to create three under-secretariats, one of which would replace the CTO as the competent authority on tourism strategy, have variously tried to argue in favour of the new departments by trashing the CTO.
The letter, he said, was an attempt to refer them to earlier communications to parliament listing in detail the CTO’s accomplishments in recent years.
“It seems that finance committee members may be not as knowledgeable about the CTO’s role and contribution to the recent turnaround of the tourism industry, which has had a record year, as their counterparts on the House tourism committee, with whom we have traditionally engaged,” Loizou said.
In the letter, Loizou complained that “in the effort to promote the necessity of creating an under-secretariat, there is an obvious demeaning, critical and squarely unfair attitude toward the organisation and its body of work”.
The tremendous progress and improvements achieved in recent years are being overlooked, the CTO claimed.
“This attitude undermines efforts to foster the necessary tourism conscience and culture,” the letter said.
“It is a disheartening attitude that fails to acknowledge what has been achieved in tourism.”
Attempting to set the record straight, the CTO board said that, since its appointment three years ago, Cyprus tourism saw 800,000 additional arrivals, with more than 3.2 million arrivals in 2016 alone, with a further increase in 2017 being a real possibility.
“The CTO has acted as a catalyst for the establishment and operation of new airlines in Cyprus, as well as the expansion of current airlines’ flying schedules,” the CTO said.
“The results in the tourism industry, being the lifeblood of the economy, were not random or coincidental, as some claim, but the direct result of strategic planning and efficient use of limited funds.”