With the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic expected to take a toll on tourism until 2023 or 2024 the deputy ministry of tourism on Monday made a number of suggestions to adapt the sector to the challenging times ahead, including placing more emphasis on nature.
The article by the ministry was published ahead of September 27, World Tourism Day.
“This year will be a different Tourism Day, on which instead of achievements, we will refer more to the future of the sector, through the severe crisis that is currently underway. Like the rest of the world, Cyprus tourism was affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The World Tourism Organisation expects a reduction in global tourism in 2020 by at least 80 per cent, a statistic that seems to be in line with the case of Cyprus,” the deputy ministry announced.
The published article outlined new trends in the industry, believed to be accelerating due to the pandemic.
These are slow tourism, with travellers seeking to avoid crowds and explore more authentic places and looking for unique experiences, climate friendly holidays, and extended stays, combining working online with being on vacation.
To avoid crowds, many holidays will take place during off-peak months and passengers travelling on cruises are expected to choose smaller cruise ships.
Smaller conferences, ‘boutique conferences’, will be part of the new era, with some participants attending online.
Health and wellness vacations must increasingly have a holistic theme and be linked to healthy eating and activities in nature.
Private jet travel is an option for the wealthy, while others may more often opt for regional holidays.
In view of these trends, the deputy ministry believes, Cyprus needs to modify tourism marketing abroad, promoting digital advertising with an emphasis on travellers with specific interests.
The government should subsidise seminars in foreign languages to improve communication with visitors, and should further develop special forms of tourism, something which will also alleviate the problem of seasonality.
To cater for an authentic experience, it is recommended the state should “create an authentic route in the mountains, the countryside and other areas, up to 300 kilometres long, which will be displayed digitally, giving travellers the opportunity to choose personalised holiday experiences, and make online reservations.”
The deputy ministry also recommends updating various laws on leisure centres, theme parks, camping places and beaches.
In addition to this, the ministry will seek to promote a small increase of the building rate on agricultural land, so that people engaged in agriculture can combine their profession with providing for tourism accommodation, and attempt to find funds from the EU to restore houses in the mountains and in the countryside.
“It is obvious that everything is changing around us,” the article concluded.
“Cyprus, which after the financial crisis of 2013, was called to significantly improve its tourism product, is called to do so again, to give a new impetus to its tourism industry. Of course, any success will not happen overnight. It requires constant effort and coordinated actions from all stakeholders, i.e. ministries, parliament and the private sector. If we achieve this overall, there is no doubt that tourism will again be the pillar of our economy, within the next two to three years.”