Tourist arrivals for summer 2019 are expected to record a slight decrease, remaining however around the same levels as last year, according to the president of the Association of Cyprus Travel Agents (Acta).
Vasilis Stamataris told CNA that the decrease could be attributed to the competition with neighbouring countries, the uncertainty over Brexit, the closure of Germania airlines and the fact that many Russian tourists choose Turkey for their holidays.
The hotels are already observing a reduction in bookings for June. However, he expressed the hope that there would be further last-minute bookings, that would lead to nearly the same numbers as last year.
Referring to the competition, Stamataris said that neighbouring countries as Turkey and Egypt, offer very cheap packages compared with Cyprus. He expressed the belief that the reduction from the UK, as a result of Brexit uncertainty would not be so big.
Stamataris also referred to the losses announced by the big holiday group Thomas Cook, which affected bookings, and expressed the hope that the government would offer incentives to the group in order to support the market in Cyprus.
Regarding the Russian market he said that it was affected by the exchange rate and the preference for cheaper markets in the region such as Turkey.
After the closure of Germania, he said, there was a problem with connectivity for Germany that would take time to resolve.
However, he said that despite the reduction, arrivals were already very satisfactory and still at very high levels.
He added that the new measures taken by the deputy of ministry of tourism would take at least six months to yield results.
Regarding outbound tourism Stamataris said there was a new interest in organised holidays and a continuing flow of reservations especially for Greece and the Greek islands as well as for cruises in the Mediterranean.