Karousos said the country needs to offer visitors a holistic tourism experience and underlined that “without air connectivity, we will not see quality tourism.”
Following a record year in terms of tourist arrivals in 2019, Cyprus recorded one of the worst tourist seasons ever in 2020 due to the travel restrictions introduced because of the pandemic, while in 2021 arrivals recovered to approximately half the 2019 levels.
Karousos mentioned the “noteworthy efforts” made by his ministry, the deputy ministry for tourism, Hermes Airports, and other stakeholders to boost Cyprus’ air connectivity with increased tourist markets.
“In the middle of the crisis we managed to have more available destinations and more options compared with 2019,” he said, 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.
For his part, Perdios said the Deputy Ministry’s aim is to make Cyprus tourism more resilient so it can cope with various crises which will continue to arise.
He also referred to the ministry’s initiatives, such as the creation of certified theme parks, maintaining the high number of Blue Flags and the cleanest waters in Europe, and improving gastronomy options with offerings such as the “Cyprus breakfast,” to improve the tourist experience in Cyprus.
“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,” he said.
Greek National Tourism Organization President Angela Gerekou said that Cyprus tourism could become a “success story.” She also warned, however, that the pandemic and the current war in Ukraine could bring about a new form of crisis, namely of a humanitarian, financial and geopolitical nature.