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Tourism sector must focus on sustainability, stakeholders told

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World Tourism Day with its theme this year of tourism for inclusive growth should be a call for the entire industry to renew itself, stakeholders in Cyprus said on Monday.

Hermes Airports, the consortium managing Cyprus’ two international airports, said that this year’s theme meant a move towards the World Tourism Organisation’s (WTO) vision of sustainable development.

This includes the creation of authentic experience, supporting and showcasing local and rural communities and areas, as well as refraining from favouring one season (often this being the summer months) for the attraction of a country’s majority of foreign visitors.

“The goals which have been set by the WTO are aligned with Hermes Airports’ strategy and its vision for sustainable development of Cyprus tourism in a beneficial way, both for society as well as the environment,” Hermes Airports said in a statement.

“Moreover, the specific day is a reminder of the pivotal role tourism plays in our country, and the fact that all of us in the tourism industry, have the responsibility to shape the preconditions so that Cyprus continues to maintain its competitive advantage as a multicultural, welcoming destination offering unique and authentic experiences,” Hermes added.

Maria Kouroupi, senior manager of aviation development and communication at Hermes Airports, said that people need to be taken into account and not just seen as raw numbers.

“We embrace the view of the World Tourism Organisation, that we must look beyond the numbers and the statistics, and acknowledge that, behind every number, there is a person,” Kouroupi said.

The Paphos Region Tourism Development and Promotion Company (Etap) said that tourism’s pivotal importance for Cyprus necessitates a well-rounded approach.

“Recognising the great importance of tourism and its ability to ensure recovery and development for all, Etap is asking for the various ministries and government agencies to take the initiative in order to address both chronic problems and new challenges through a holistic approach,” Etap said in a statement.

The company said that a rethinking of the tourism sector should see any gains spread across the board, regardless of the size of the business or how it serves the industry.

“We must not leave anyone behind,” Etap said.

The company said that the tourism sector can offer decent jobs, “contributing to the creation of resilient, sustainable, inclusive economies and societies that work for all”.

They added that there was a need for targeted action and investments to turn towards green and sustainable tourism.

Last week, Association of Cyprus Tourist Enterprises (Stek) president Akis Vavlitis said that Cyprus should position itself as a “quality destination which meets the needs of the modern visitor”.

“Only through quality tourism will the goal for the development of the sector be really achieved,” Vavlitis said.

“Based on the roadmap for sustainable tourism, which aims to reduce the climate and environmental footprint of the sector as well as meet the goals of sustainable development set by the European Parliament, we are called as Cyprus to draw up a balanced and long-term tourism strategy,” the Stek president added.

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