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Winter tourism to rely primarily on scheduled flights minister says

Cyprus will be counting on scheduled flights for incoming tourism in the winter months, as uncertainty created by the Covid pandemic continues to discourage tour operators from chartering aircraft for tourism, Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios said on Thursday.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency from Munich, the minister said concerns over a potential surge in infections in the winter months prevented tour operators from taking the risk of organising chartered flights.

“Consequently, this winter and perhaps until March, the main traveller traffic to Cyprus will be through scheduled flights and not chartered,” Perdios said.

The minister stressed the importance of maintaining scheduled flights to Cyprus in winter and where possible to increase them.

“What is important is that it appears we maintain a large percentage of scheduled flights” – mainly from EU countries.

“This means the winter advertising campaign is all the more important and it entails spending more money on the winter campaign compared with the summer when tour operators also contribute.”

Chartered flights from Britain, the island’s biggest market, were few and far between in 2020, while its second biggest market, Russia never opened to chartered flights.

Perdios said the campaign will be two-pronged; to maintain interest from markets that have scheduled flights, and to create interest in other markets.

He said tourist arrivals in 2021 were expected to reach 40 per cent of 2019, with September rising to 60 per cent of the respective month in 2019.

October was also expected to achieve similar figures due to increased traffic from Britain.

Perdios said they expected the second half of the year to be around 60 per cent of the respective period in 2019, meaning 2022 will kick off from a new starting point.

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