Cyprus Mail

MPs warn against tourism complacency

Lawmakers on Tuesday expressed satisfaction at yet another bumper year for tourism, but warned against complacency, highlighting the need to constantly improve the island’s tourist product.

Total arrivals for 2017 are projected at between 3.5 and 3.6 million, Angelos Loizou, head of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation, told the House commerce committee.

In 2016, direct revenues from tourism reached €2.14 billion, whereas for this year they are projected to reach €2.7 billion. This corresponded to €2,700 per inhabitant, Loizou said.

Also encouraging is the data for the upcoming winter season (November 2017 to March 2018), with pre-bookings showing an anticipated 5 per cent increase in arrivals.

Stakeholders warned, however, that competing destinations like Egypt, Turkey and Morocco were now recovering from previous years.

The CTO said more funds are needed to re-brand the Cypriot tourist product and for a new and aggressive advertising drive.

The momentum should be preserved, they said.

Director of the hoteliers organisation Zacharias Ioannides struck a note of caution, citing for example the lack of adequate infrastructure to train local waiters.

Akel MP Costas Costa said all stakeholders should be concerned over the fact that the United Kingdom accounts for 35 per cent of tourist arrivals given the potential negative impact of Brexit.

There was consensus that legislation establishing a tourism under-secretariat should be expedited.

Discussion of the government bill resumes next week at the House finance committee.

MPs also heard that on October 3 the government will launch a public consultation regarding the strategic plan for tourism, expected to be drafted by the end of November.

Lawmakers said they would monitor the plan’s progress every quarter.

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