Cyprus Mail

Akel submits proposals to boost tourism


Akel has drawn up proposals to boost domestic tourism as part of efforts to replace an anticipated shortfall of some 800,000 Russian and Ukrainian holidaymakers in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting with tourism stakeholders in the Famagusta area on Wednesday, Akel general secretary Stephanos Stephanou said time was of the essence as Cyprus moves to shore up the crucial tourism sector.

Having emerged from the coronavirus pandemic, Cyprus was anticipating a boom tourism year. But hopes were dashed amid as sanctions and a plummeting rouble eliminated the Russian market, the second largest, leaving tourism-receiving countries competing for a smaller pie.

The Famagusta district, traditionally popular with Russians, is preparing to feel the pain.

This was acknowledged by Stephanou who has been holding contacts on tourism in all districts.

“As regards tourism, the free Famagusta area has received a strong blow from the pandemic and at the same time is receiving another strong blow from the fact that we do not expect this year to have Russian and Ukrainian tourists, who were among the most basic pieces of the tourism industry in the area,” he said.

The party’s proposals, that will be submitted to the deputy ministry of tourism, revolve around two main pillars. “The first is the speedy, very specific, intervention of the state in finding new markets or boosting existing markets so that we can bring the largest number of tourists that we can so that at least in part we can make up for the losses that we will have,” he said.

The second is to boost domestic tourism, which had provided answers during the pandemic. Stephanou said that boosting, widening, and upgrading domestic tourism programmes as well as launching new ones would provide a significant lifeline to the sector.

The party’s proposals, which will be submitted to the deputy ministry of tourism, include covering workers not beneficiaries of the holiday fund. “The state must prepare plans and earmark funds to cover employees who are not part of the scheme in a targeted manner, helping mainly those population groups that do not have the funds to take a holiday,” he said.

He said giving Cypriots incentives and the means to holiday in Cyprus would support the tourism sector and give it the necessary financial breathing space.


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