The tourism industry faces “important environmental and economic challenges ahead,” President Nikos Christodoulides warned on Tuesday addressing the Cyprus Hoteliers’ Association’s (Pasyxe) general assembly in Nicosia.
The current world scenario is constantly altering the perspective for the tourism industry, he added.
“When I took over as president a few months ago, I was fully aware of the challenges we would be called upon to manage, both in the short term, such as the rise in inflation and lending rates internationally, but also in the long term, such as the need to tackle climate change, and the green and digital transition,” he said.
“Especially in the tourism sector, challenges and risks are always part of the equation.”
However, despite the challenges, Christodoulides remained upbeat on the future of tourism to the island and praised the previous administration for legacy it left behind.
“We inherited a robust economy, thanks to which we are able to expand numerous action plans and programmes that will usher the tourism industry into a new era,” he said.
The president said the goal is to develop the sector by creating “a multidimensional tourism experience that will endure over time and, at the same, safeguard the prosperity and progress of both employees in the sector and all residents of the island.
“Our country has comparative advantages both in natural beauty and infrastructure, as well as plenty of talent and skills that we need to develop,” he added.
However, he said the strong entrepreneurial minds that have always been the backbone of the island’s economy will need to be enlisted.
Christodoulides also conceded that the rising price of electricity and the cost-of-living crisis are directly affecting hoteliers.
“I am well aware of the tireless efforts you [the hoteliers] have made and continue to make in order to keep Cyprus competitive and attract tourists from new countries,” he said.
But this promotion, he underlined, requires cooperation between private and public sectors so there is a common approach, but also the creation of new business models to allow greater penetration in new markets.
In this context, on May 31, the Council of Ministers approved the creation of the Tourism Promotion Agency to boost the participation of the private sector in the decision-making process for the promotion of the country as a tourist destination.
He also praised the completed and ongoing works at marinas in Cyprus, adding the projects are set to improve the tourism offer to visitors, as well as the promotion of mountainous and remote areas of the island, for which he thanked previous Deputy Minister of Tourism Savvas Perdios.
“The tourism sector and the hotel industry are undoubtedly two pillars of the Cypriot economy.
“As a state, we will be by your side in your efforts to overcome any adversity affecting the sector and together we will strive to develop and modernise our country’s tourism product,” Christodoulides concluded.