The island’s travel agents (Acta) urged the government on Wednesday to solve the problems plaguing the tourism industry and strive to turn Cyprus into a sustainable year-round premium destination.
“We cannot be seeing the various problems and not solve them,” Acta chairman Vasilis Stamataris said in a speech at the association’s AGM.
Stamataris listed seasonality, the island’s connectivity with bigger markets, better service, enrichment of the tourist product and competitiveness, as being the main challenges faced by Cyprus.
He said realising the national strategy for tourism would be a catalyst in modernising the industry, with the aim being by 2030 to turn Cyprus into a year-round sustainable premium destination hosting five million tourists a year.
Speaking at the AGM, Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios stressed the need to examine alternative markets in light of the drop in tourist numbers from Russia and the UK.
He said his ministry was seeking alternatives like Israel, Egypt and Lebanon through which Cyprus could also receive tourists from other countries.
France, for instance, has five flights per day to Lebanon, which is 20 minutes away, while the US has 50 flights a week to Israel, carrying some 10,000 passengers.
“It is our obligation to see how we can develop these markets through other countries,” Perdios said.
The minister said they have concluded talks with neighbouring countries and agreed at a political level to jointly promote packages in certain markets.
Joint packages are a solution to promote Cyprus in distant markets like China, Japan and the USA, but also France where there was no direct flight.
Perdios said packages including Cyprus, Greece and Israel are already being sold in China.