A new study on tourism development suggests that by 2030 tourism arrivals could go up by 82 %, revenues increase by 185 % and 64 % more staff employed in the industry if the study’s strategy is implemented. The new plan, which was presented to a ministerial committee in February 2017, is part of developing a new tourism strategy.
“For the first time, an integrated, comprehensive national strategy presents not only quantitative and qualitative objectives but a specific plan with proposed actions and schedules for how these goals will be achieved, and by which public and private entities, with a time frame from 2017 to 2030,” an official announcement said.
The statement said experts have found that by 2030 Cyprus can become a year-round sustainable tourist destination that attracts an additional 4.8 million foreign tourists, 40 per cent of whom will visit the island in the period from November to April.
“The proposed new model of tourism development aims to attract tourists with higher per capita expenditure and create significant added value for Cyprus, for the local community, business, environment and economy,” said the announcement.
To achieve the targets integrated planning is needed, as is “upgrading of existing tourist clusters with better service, improving the visual aesthetics, creating new products and a rich experience for tourists with emphasis on local heritage, culture and natural environment, while contributing to and improving the quality of life of Cypriot citizens.”
After a record year of 2016, Tourism Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis expects even more positive results this year of 2017 barring unforeseen obstacles, he said on February 14, in an address to a hoteliers’ conference in Nicosia, as year of 2016 was a landmark year for tourism both in terms of arrivals and revenue. There were 500,000 more visitors last year, reaching a total of 3.2 million plus a 12 per cent hike in revenue to €2.3bn.
“We believe that in 2017 this positive trend with regard to arrivals and revenue will continue,” he said. “This is clear from both reservations and flights data for Cyprus.”
Lakkotrypis added that at the same time there was also a risk of being negatively affected due to geopolitical instability in the region. “So to get the results we want we must continue the efforts to enhance the competitiveness and sustainable development of our tourist product,” he added.
The minister said that in this regard, the new strategy for tourism and the creation of an under-secretariat were in the final stages. To achieve the desired results, researchers have focused on actions such as targeting the mix of tourists and focusing on attracting visitors in a higher income bracket, upgrading existing infrastructure, improving the quality of services and establishing quality control mechanisms, and better promotion. There is also an incentives’ plan afoot to help hotels stay open in the winter and thus prolong the season as much as possible, along with the addition of more flights all year round.
The Minister said the new national strategy for tourism, aiming primarily at a modern tourist product, is about to be concluded during the year of 2017.
It is a well-known fact that tourism is a significant contributor to the island’s economy, with tourism in 2015 collecting €3.4 billion in revenue, which corresponds to 19.3 % of GDP in 2015. The increase in tourist arrivals in 2016 has translated into a 4.4% increase in revenue from tourism, or a total of €3.5 billion(19.9% of GDP). In addition, future projections for tourism are positive: a 3.6% annual increase is expected until 2026, for total collected revenue of €5 billion, or 22.9% of GDP.
According to a KPMG report titled “Cyprus Tourism Market Report” which was published by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the tourism industry is one of the largest sectors in the Cyprus economy, with significant growth during the past five years, with the number of tourists reaching 3.2 million in 2016.
The KPMG report says 2016 was a record year in tourist arrivals, with the number reaching 3,186,531. In 2016 there was an increase of 19.8% compared to 2015, when tourist arrivals reached 2,659,405. The report also notes that the Cyprus tourist product is more expensive than other Mediterranean destinations. Also mentioned in the report are the government’s efforts to decrease seasonality in tourism, by increasing the tourist period by two months. There is also mention of the casino-resort to begin construction in the near future which will also decrease seasonality.
One of the Top 10 beaches is Fig Tree bay in Protaras – fourth on the Europe list and 19th in the world, was noted for its ‘very clean beach with lots of sunbeds’ and the chance to enjoy water sports in its clear waters, too.
Sources: New tourism study predicts rosy future, Tourism minister confident for 2017, Tourism contributes €3.5 billion to economy in 2016, Lakkotrypis: Positive Trend in Tourism to Continue in 2017, TripAdvisor names 2017’s best beaches in the world
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