TOURISM

Cyprus hopes to fill Russian tourism gap

Cyprus hopes to fill Russian tourism gap

Cyprus’ Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios was optimistic on Tuesday that this year’s tourism arrivals could catch up with 2021, despite losing ground in the Russian and Ukrainian markets due to the war in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia. He believes that thanks to the promotion of Cyprus in other markets, it may fill part of the gap resulting from the absence of its second largest tourist market.

“Our product is more durable, the perception of what Cyprus is has begun to change, we are bringing in tourists with a higher income level. We will do everything in our power to make things as good as possible under the circumstances,” said Perdios, speaking online to the parliamentary Trade Committee, which was examining the consequences of the Ukrainian crisis in the tourism industry.

He said that both the ministry and tour operators are operating in the worst-case scenario, which is the loss of 800,000 tourists expected from Russia and Ukraine.

Perdios explained that the gap created by the absence of Russian tourists, which corresponds to 20% to 25% of the estimated tourist flow this year, will be difficult to fill since Russian visitors travel mainly through tour operators. “At the moment there is no other market that can bring such numbers through organized packages,” he added.

He stressed, however, that although the Russian market, Cyprus’ second largest, could not be replaced in its entirety, there were significant prospects from countries such as Germany, Israel, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, Sweden and Hungary, a perspective created by the actions of the Tourism Ministry, the Ministry of Transport and Hermes Airports. He noted that these countries will have 20 to 40 flights each, compared to about 100 flights a week coming from Russia.

“Last year, on average, planes were at around 70% capacity. This year, if through our actions we achieve to turn 70% into 85-90% just from this and without an increase in routes, we will be talking about an additional 200,000 to 250,000 seats compared to what we expected to have,” he said, adding that the United Kingdom and Israel are dynamic and in fact will be open markets from the beginning of the season, in contrast to 2021.

“At least for this year we are deleting 2019, we must focus on catching up with last year’s numbers,” the deputy minister added.