Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

Paphos tourist officials discuss future with new minister

 

A recent brain storming meeting held by the newly appointed deputy minister of tourism saw more than 90 participants from all over Cyprus meet in Nicosia to discuss problems facing the industry, and how best to tackle them, according to officials.

Some of the main issues raised with Savvas Perdios last week, were ‘rebranding’ Cyprus and the aim of increasing flight connections, according to attendee, Euripides Loizides, the secretary of the Paphos Hoteliers Association.

Loizides said that the need to diversify Cyprus’ tourism product, moving away from promoting just a ‘sun and sea image’, were imperative and that investment in other areas was also discussed.

“It was a good brainstorming session with associations, travel agents, hoteliers and other industry professional represented. We can no longer sell Cyprus as ‘sun and sea’, we have to come up with something else and we are trying to invigorate with new ideas,” he said.

The minister said earlier in January that he has started a round of contacts with industry professionals to help shape a future strategy.

Quality tourism is also a priority and seasonality issues were also discussed.

“In particular, connections with Germany are necessary and with many other destinations.”

A spokesman for the Paphos Regional Board of Tourism said that a number of Paphos representatives attended the event.

Paphos indicated the need to update and re-evaluate the tourism strategic plan, as well as enhancing efforts to ease seasonality, with an emphasis on attracting airlines all year round, he said.

“There need to be incentives and some kind of support for the airlines and operators.”

Revenue from tourism in 2018 was over 2.7 billion euros.

Real steps are needed to strengthen efforts to develop winter tourism, with an emphasis on encouraging airlines especially from central Europe, Scandinavia and the UK and strengthening links with neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Israel and Egypt, Loizides said.

Another focus was the need to continue to upgrade and update the infrastructure projects in Paphos related to athletic tourism, such as an increase in the number of football training fields and scuba diving tourism, as well as other special interest holidays.

“The minister really wanted to listen,” he said.

Another subject highlighted was a study in rural areas to ascertain how tourism can be exploited in a sustainable way, which will fully respect the environment.

Other industry concerns are the possible fallout from Brexit as tourism from the UK remains the island’s main source of income in this market.

Loizides said that Brexit is causing some jitters, but as no-one knows the outcome yet, sales from the UK are ‘not bad’ and have not been adversely affected yet, although it’s too early to draw proper conclusions.

“We believe that people will still travel from the UK but perhaps they will look for cheaper hotels, or cut 14 day stays to 12 days, no-one knows yet.”

 

 

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