NICOSIA – Forced into going along with European Union sanctions that include barring Russia airplanes over the invasion of Ukraine – a major market of tourists on Cyprus – the government will try to lure others from Europe and the Middle East.
That was part of what was called an action plan for replacements although the government said it reserved the right to break with the EU and allow Russian Minister of Transportation, Communications and Works Yiannis Karoussos said the focus has changed to other markets in the meantime, the war and sanctions coming at the worst possible time – Cyprus trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic just as the spring season is set to open.
Karoussos said after meeting with European Investment Bank Vice President Lilyana Pavlova that tourists from Russia and Ukraine regularly account for more than 25 percent of arrivals on Cyprus, said Kathimerini in a report.
“This year we were counting on a year with numbers similar to 2019, since the calculations of related businesses had shown that we would have approximately 90 percent of the volume of that year. We would have been very close if it wasn’t for the war,” he said, 2019 being a record year.
“We now know that whatever happens, the Russian and Ukrainian markets are lost for this year,” he noted, adding that the ministry is preparing a plan to promote Cyprus tourism to other markets.
“We are focusing on Europe and the Middle East,” he said, noting the work being done by the Transport and Tourism ministries but with Greece in the same boat and also looking for other markets too.