The effects of climate change was one more challenge the tourism industry would have to cope with, said Christos Angelides, the president of the Pancyprian Association of Hotel Managers (Pasydixe).

Speaking at the Pasydixe AGM in Larnaca, Angelides said that “the experiences and experiences of the past cannot be a one-dimensional advisor for strategic decisions in tourism, since the not-so-distant pandemic left its mark on the industry.”

He also warned that “geopolitical developments are capable of overturning any strategic plan we have drawn up, while to these unpredictable developments, which can occur at any moment, climate change has been added with all its direct and indirect effects”.

The industry has been in flux in the last few years marked by the bankruptcy of 46 airlines since 2019, the termination of the operations of travel agencies and tour operators as well as the coronavirus pandemic.

He also said that climate change had arrived. “We are experiencing its effects more intensely than ever and it is time to confront it. The approach should be multi-level, coordinated and bring together decisions of the European Union and Cyprus, while at the same time, it should be targeted, flexible and inventive at the level of the tourism industry”.

The association wanted the state’s support to the executives of the hotel industry, through the establishment of high standard training and education programmes. Political support of hotel businesses was “now imperative”, and he called for “tax incentives to be given for new facilities and qualitative and technological upgrading of the existing ones.” He also repeated the request for the creation of a National Institute for Tourism Studies.

Deputy minister of tourism Kostas Koumis also spoke about the current challenges facing Cypriot tourism, caused by geopolitical tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean and difficult economic conditions in major European countries.

“It is perhaps the first time in years, except during the pandemic, that external factors are not benefiting our country’s tourism; rather, they are hindering it,” said Koumis. Despite this, he expressed confidence in our ability to overcome these difficulties.

“We are working methodically to face the challenges, including climate change, connecting almost every policy of the Deputy Ministry and by extension the Government with the goal of the green transition, but also of the digital transformation. At the same time, we are moving in the direction of improving the tourism product, trying to meet new market trends, making the most of the Recovery and Resilience Plan,” Koumis said.

He noted that “all together, the government, tourism agencies, and professionals should focus to further enhance the tourist experience of each visitor” and added that “an important parameter of our wider effort to improve the quality of the services provided is also the field of education”.

He referred to the adoption by the Deputy Ministry of Tourism of the European Commission advice “for skilling – upskilling and reskilling” noting that “human capital and its special quality characteristics are a critical parameter for success and achieving a competitive advantage”.

The main objective of the government, and especially of the Deputy Ministry of Tourism, noted Koumis, “is to strengthen the competitiveness of the tourism product of our country, with the emphasis now on the green transition, on the digital transformation, on the further improvement of the basic infrastructures.”