Paphos hoteliers on Monday asked for improvements in the volume, coverage and frequency of flights to Cyprus for the winter months.

An increase in winter flights can create impetus for more flights in the summer, Paphos hoteliers’ association head Thanos Michaelides told the Cyprus News Agency.

“While thinking of ways to attract tourists, we must also consider measures that support airlines and travel agents,” he said, adding that many of Cyprus’ competitors are very generous towards them, which makes them more competitive destinations.

This is something we must consider when trying to attract large European tourist markets, he said, adding that these measures can often be combined as many travel agencies often collaborate with airlines.

But, he said, improving connectivity should be paired with a dynamic marketing strategy that will establish Cyprus as a quality tourist destination and attract a different type of higher-spending tourist.

Michaelides said that it is obvious Cyprus is unable to compete with low cost as its only weapon, adding that we must also develop quality and individuality.

“If the pandemic is in control, that means tourist flows in 2022 are bound to be much higher than 2020 and 2021’s, and could even come close to 2019’s,” he said, adding however that for the hotel industry to survive, labour shortages need to be resolved urgently, before March 2022.

If we don’t act on time, we will not be able to provide the right services as a tourist destination and will lose everything we’ve worked for in the past few years, he said.

Lastly he said that the budget for tourism must be increased and used to create a long-term strategy for achieving our goals as a destination.

“We must remember that an increase in the budget is not an increase in cost, but an increase in investment in the most profitable sector of the Cypriot economy”.