NICOSIA This year is expected to be a difficult one for tourism, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Neoclis Sylikiotis said Wednesday, noting however that 2012 was a very positive year as regards arrivals and revenue from tourism.
Addressing Wednesday the 35th Annual Hotel Conference, in Nicosia, Sylikiotis said that 2012 can be described as a successful year, since in spite of difficulties, “we managed to bring to Cyprus 2.46 million tourists, compared to 2.39 million in 2011, which means an increase of 3%”.
Referring to the revenue from the tourism in 2012, the Minister pointed out that it recorded an increase compared to the previous year, estimated at around 10%.
As regards 2013, he said that the Russian market is expected to continue to record significant increase, but noted that prospects from the UK, Germany and the Nordic countries are not as promising.
"Our goal is to maintain the number of arrivals at the same level as in 2012. I am sure that everyone involved in the field, realizing the gravity of the situation today, will work with the same or even greater devotion so that in 2013 we will achieve equally good or even better results than 2012," he added.
The Minister recalled that on the 5th of February, the Council of Ministers decided to extend the period for charter flights from Russia from March 15 until November 15, adding that this decision will result in an increase of tourist arrivals and revenue. He estimated that in 2013 100,000 additional Russian tourists will visit Cyprus, while revenue will show an increase of more than 120 million euro.
Moreover, he referred to the importance of improving the quality/price ratio, services and hospitality in the tourist sector and called on hoteliers to prefer Cypriot employees in the tourist industry.
In addition, the Minister stressed that Cyprus faces major challenges and its economy needs to be stimulated “immediately”.
He pointed out that there are areas in the economy which create hope, such as the recent discovery of natural gas resources in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone.
Addressing the conference, President of the Cyprus Hotel Association Haris Loizides said that 2012 has shown that the tourist industry, in spite of problems, remains the main tool that boosts the Cypriot economy.
He expressed satisfaction with a government decision to expand the chartered flights’ period for the Moscow and St. Petersburg routes.
As regards the employment of Cypriots in the tourist industry, he said the Association is ready to proceed, adding that “we understand that we have an unemployment problem and we will do whatever we can to employ Cypriots, in the framework of an agreement with the trade unions”.
Addressing the conference, Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency’s President, Christodoulos Agkastiniotis, referred to the importance of attracting investments to Cyprus.
“Attracting foreign investments is one of the state’s primary goals in order to boost the economy and create new jobs”, he said.
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