NICOSIA – The COVID-19 pandemic and limited air connections that combined to drive down tourism on Cyprus showed a need for more lures and activities for viewers beyond beaches, officials said.
They said there’s a need for what they called quality tourism on the island, including theme parks, protecting Blue Flag clean beaches and dining options such as the “Cyprus Breakfast,” offered to visitors, reported Kathimerini.
That would also diversify the country’s most important revenue engine in the event of other crises, said Transport, Communications and Works Minister Yiannis Karousos and Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios.
They were speaking at a conference organized by the Cyprus Tourism Association where Karous said the country needs to offer visitors a holistic tourism experience and underlined that “without air connectivity, we will not see quality tourism.”
After a record 2019, the pandemic essentially wiped out the 2020 tourist season and 2021 saw a return of only half the numbers two years earlier, with worries that going along with European Union sanctions barring Russian airlines over the invasion of Ukraine will lose another big tourist market.
“In the middle of the crisis we managed to have more available destinations and more options compared with 2019,” said Karousos, adding that in 2021 Cyprus had air connectivity with 158 destinations, while in 2019, Cyprus’ best-ever year in terms of tourism and passenger traffic, Cyprus had connections with just 150 destinations.
Perdios said that, “Our promotion of Cyprus abroad has changed. We don’t simply say we are an island offering only sun and sea. What we are saying is that Cyprus is an island where you can enjoy its rich history, delve into its culture and experience one-of-a-kind adventures,” the newspaper said.
Greek National Tourism Organization President Angela Gerekou said that Cyprus tourism could become a “success story,” but that depends on any effect of the Ukraine’s invasion fallout on world markets.