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Possible impact on cruises from regional crisis, says Cypriot official

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Navigate through the cruise industry conference

At a time when the cruise tourism industry is showing amazing prospects around the world, the crisis that has erupted in neighbouring Israel is creating new factors, which may negatively affect the entire Eastern Mediterranean region, said Permanent Secretary of the Deputy Ministry of Tourism, Costas Constantinou, on Wednesday.

He was addressing a conference organised by the Deputy Ministry entitled “Navigate through the cruise industry” in Limassol.

In his speech, the Permanent Secretary of the Deputy Ministry of Tourism said that as cruise lines’ itineraries enrich the tourism product and services and contribute to the extension of the tourist season, “cruise tourism is becoming a major form of tourism for the Cypriot economy and a key factor in the prosperity and development of the country.”

Unfortunately, he stressed, the very recent developments in our region are creating new facts, while assuring that the Deputy Ministry, as well as the other bodies, are following them with “particular attention”.

“This situation, especially if the crisis does not end soon, may have a negative impact on the cruise tourism sector in the entire Eastern Mediterranean region,” he said, noting that it is up to all stakeholders to contribute to the best possible management of the situation and minimise any impact of the war in Israel.

“It is also up to all of us to showcase Cyprus’ advantages, the high level of services provided and the unique experiences,” he continued, stressing that the goal should be to increase the level of satisfaction of visitors from their overall experience on the island.

The potential impact on the cruise industry in the Eastern Mediterranean region by an ongoing war situation in Israel is also highlighted by Maria Deligianni, Eastern Mediterranean Director General at the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), who welcomed the conference online.

She noted that the Eastern Mediterranean is vulnerable to geopolitical tensions and this is considered its weak point, however, she stressed that the region is unique, as in close proximity, it offers visitors experiences from countries with different cultures.

Commercial Director of DP World Limassol, Lazaros Charalambous and the General Manager of Kition Ocean Port, Paris Demetriou, spoke about the ports of Limassol and Larnaca, respectively.

Charalambous said that 207,000 passengers arrived in Limassol port in 2022, they reached 300,000 in 2023, while 350,000 visitors are expected in 2024, noting that a percentage approaching 20% will revisit the country where they had the most beautiful cruise experience, for a longer stay.

According to DP World’s commercial director, geopolitical developments in the region are seen as the biggest challenge, “as tourists are not only coming for Cyprus but for the whole Eastern Mediterranean experience”.

The impact of a long-term war in neighbouring Israel is expected to be most apparent in 2025, since, as Charalambous said, cruise ship itineraries are scheduled at least two years earlier.

For his part, Paris Demetriou spoke about the services offered by the port, the history and culture of the city of Larnaca and stressed that offering better services and innovative ideas is one of their main goals port operating company.

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