Innovation in the tourism sector and strategies for promoting tourism in the digital age and digital marketing took centre stage in discussions at a workshop organised by the Association of Cyprus Tourist Enterprises (Stek) in Limassol this week.
The Initiative and Collaboration Workshop was organised as part of the implementation of the project “Islands-Attractive Destinations of the Mediterranean – SMART TOUR.”
This event followed a previous workshop jointly organized by Stek and the Crete regional administration, aiming to creatively connect decision-makers, the scientific community, and tourism entrepreneurs to exchange tourism knowledge and explore possibilities for joint interregional and cross-border actions.
During the workshop, several topics were discussed, including innovation in tourism entrepreneurship, new challenges and trends in tourism marketing, thematic tourist routes in Cyprus, and digital marketing for alternative forms of tourism in Cyprus.
Sokratis Solomides, Secretary-General of Stek, emphasised that the association has consistently supported the idea that quality tourism is the way forward.
He explained that Stek has been moving in this direction in recent years, leveraging opportunities presented by European programmes.
He pointed out that the project “Islands-Attractive Destinations of the Mediterranean – SMART TOUR” aligns perfectly with the association’s strategy.
The project focuses on collaboration among stakeholders to develop tourism strategies, promote natural and cultural heritage, and enhance tourism identity, sustainability, and cross-border cooperation.
In his welcome address, read by Municipal Councilor Athena Spyrou, Nicos Nicolaides, the Mayor of Limassol, highlighted that in the modern age, where citizens are increasingly informed about tourism products, the success of tourist destinations is based on factors like sustainability, accessibility, digitisation, cultural heritage, and creativity.
He stressed the importance of developing and promoting “smart tourism” with digital tools, products, and services that enhance the sustainable development of the local area, and support creative industries, local talents, and cultural heritage. He noted that this is an opportunity everyone should seize.
Costas Constantinou, Director-General of the Ministry of Tourism, noted that the tourism development of a destination is not just about its upgrading and promotion but also about what ultimately benefits the destination itself.
“There can be no quality tourism product if it is not sustainable, if there is no respect for its preservation, and if actions are not taken towards this goal,” he said.
He also emphasised that it is crucial for all stakeholders to align with a common vision.
“The SMART TOUR project promotes precisely this approach, as it aims to foster cooperation among stakeholders for the development of tourism strategies, the promotion of natural and cultural heritage, the enhancement of tourism identity, sustainability, and cross-border collaborations,” Constantinou added.
Presentations and insights were provided by various speakers, including former Deputy
Meanwhile, earlier this week, in celebration of the 44th World Tourism Day, hosted this year in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, under the theme “Tourism and Green Investments,” the Association of Cyprus Tourist Enterprises released a statement welcoming the official festivities.
In its announcement, Stek president Akis Vavlitis emphasised the importance of new investments and innovative solutions, always with an eye on the sustainability of Cyprus’ tourism sector.
“The World Tourism Organisation has identified investments as one of the key priorities for the recovery and future development of tourism, emphasising the need for more targeted investments for people, the planet, and social well-being,” he said.
“As an association, we applaud these efforts and believe that the prospects ahead are tremendous,” he added.
World Tourism Day in 2023 serves as a call to action for the international community, governments, financial institutions, development partners, and investors to unite around a new investment strategy for tourism.
In addition, the Stek president stated that it strongly believes that now is the time for “fresh and innovative solutions”.
“It is our steadfast position that we must continue to make even greater efforts for qualitative upgrades, continually evaluating our tourism product,” Vavlitis explained.
“Only through high-quality tourism can we truly enhance the benefits for the entire Cypriot society,” he concluded.