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Tourism minister woos British market, focuses on change

Tourists now demand more authentic experiences such as nature trails

Cyprus has redefined its tourism offering to satisfy a changing market, deputy tourist minister Savvas Perdios told British tour operators as he struck an upbeat note for 2022.

Speaking at a working dinner in central London to a group of some 30 tour operators primarily of specialised forms of tourism, and travel journalists, Perdios said that amid changes in visitors’ preferences and behaviour due primarily to the pandemic, Cyprus’ package has become more comprehensive, varied and flexible.

Holidaymakers now want variety, seek out contact with the local population and special interest activities, are more aware of the impact of their visit on the environment and tend to take fewer but longer trips, therefore must have more options at their destinations.

There have also been changes in the way bookings are made, with more tourists traveling independently, making last minute reservations and over 65s more familiar with online research of the destination.

Actions taken to adapt to this include upgrading the importance given to agrotourism such as by increased emphasis on camping and glamping and certification of traditional foodstuffs. Perdios also highlighted improved infrastructure, including marinas, the casino resort, golf facilities, cycle routes and better facilities at beaches with the use of eco-friendly materials.

With EU funds the tourism sector was becoming more competitive and resilient, through among other the conversion of hotels into wellness destinations and upgraded agrotourism, he added.

Cyprus has also launched 12 labels for tourist products such as Taste Cyprus certifying the authenticity of local cuisine, wine routes, blue flags for beaches, nature trails, the Troodos geopark and theme parks.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency on the sidelines of the event, Perdios said the presentation was the result of 18 months of hard work so that Cyprus can showcase other aspects of what is offers others than the sun and sea.

“It is a presentation we are currently making regularly abroad because we very much want to send this new message,” he said.

His London visit also aimed at contacts with traditional tour operators who have supported Cyprus through the years to see how satisfied they are with 2021 and what they anticipate for the next year.

Asked what Cyprus should expect from tourism in 2022, Perdios said that despite the difficulties because of the pandemic, the omens are good, at least as far as the UK market is concerned.

“We had said from the start of the year that this would be a transitional year, a bridge, that would lead us to the recovery of tourism in the next years,” he said.

By the end of October, Cyprus had welcomed 45 per cent of 2019 arrivals which were a record, giving grounds for hope that 2022 would start off better than 2021.

“I think it is certain that we will do better than 2021,” he said.

The messages from the UK market – traditionally Cyprus’ biggest – were positive, with a keen interest in travel.

“Let’s not forget that that a lot of people missed out on travel for two years and many of the bookings made in 2020 or 2021 were moved to 2022. We feel that 2022 will be a good year for the British market, it will depend on developments with the pandemic,” he added.

 

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