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Restructuring of tourism in Cyprus?

President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, announced his intention to spearhead a national effort to restructure tourism on multiple fronts, and requested the contribution of the tourist industry and other political parties.

Speaking at the annual general assembly of the Pancyprian Hoteliers’ Association (PASYKSE), he said that his government is moving ahead with planning a modern, long-term national strategy on tourism which will include matters of infrastructure and branding. He said that he aims to upgrade governance of the tourism sector with the creation of a new regulatory framework, or even a State Secretariat.

“We are at the final running for these large changes which will soon be forwarded as legislation to the House of Representatives for voting”, said the President.

He called on all parties to see beyond ideological differences and do what’s best for the country, striking an optimistic tone that this will be the case. He also said that the tourism sector will continue to be a high priority for the government.

The President made special mention of the contribution of the tourist sector to economic recovery after the Turkish invasion, saying that by 1977 three times as many tourists had visited Cyprus as those before the invasion.

Anastasiades also spoke of the many large tourist infrastructure works in progress, such as golf fields and marinas, the plans for a casino, and the millions of euros invested in public tourist infrastructure.

Within the same framework, he said, are efforts of the government to streamline entry requirements for visitors from certain countries, but also the signing of dozens of deals with airline companies and trip organisers.

He also said that a careful preparation of a Sponsorship Plan, which will be announced by the CTO, to enrich and modernise the tourist product is being prepared. As announced, the plan regards the period 2014-2020 and is budgeted at € 14 million, while there is also the possibility that the amount reaches € 16 million. The plan is expected to bring as much as €50 million in investments to the tourism industry.

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President Anastasiades urged hoteliers to not overlook the local workforce when hiring, adding that the hospitality offered by a Cypriot is different from that offered by citizens of other countries.

“We exclude no one from employment, but we encourage and, I humbly advise, that a Cypriot treats tourists differently than do foreigners”, said Anastasiades.

The President of PASYKSE Charis Loizides said that the role of the tourist industry in combating unemployment is crucial, adding that between 2008-2015 the sector employed an additional 4000 workers.

He also said that there is a lack of personnel in all tourist areas in spite of the unemployment, and that a solution must be found so that the industry does not resort to looking abroad to hire specialised personnel.

Referring to this year’s tourist season, the President of Pasyske said that unless unforeseeable circumstances bring about a change, this might be a record year for tourist arrivals.

Loizides also said that investments in Cyprus tourism during the past 3 years surpass €450 million, and added that successful solution to the Cyprus problem might bring increased potential for tourism revenue.

The President of the CTO Angelos Loizou spoke on the significant increases in arrivals and revenue seen in the last few years, especially the 9% increase in arrivals in 2015, and the spectacular 22% increase during Q1 2016.

Loizou said 2016 will likely be the most successful tourist season on record, with records in revenue and arrivals, in a period when European tourists are expected to travel 25% less.

Source: In-Cyprus

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