CTO optimistic about tourist numbers but Brits take advantage of the weak dollar

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The Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) insists the number of arrivals from the UK will remain stable for 2008, despite the drop in value of the sterling against the euro and holidaymakers seeking out cheaper deals elsewhere.

Speaking to the Cyprus Weekly newspaper, Phoebe Katsouri from the CTO said this year’s bookings from the UK would remain at last year’s levels, with thousands of families having booked way in advance and already paid last year’s prices.

“We are optimistic that we shall at least keep the same levels of arrivals from Britain for the whole of 2008,” Katsouri said.

“The competition in the industry and cheap flights available, balance out the drop of the sterling against the euro,” she added.

The UK is the main tourism market in Cyprus but the weaker sterling has seen many Brits flock to destinations more aligned with the weak US dollar, such as Mexico and Cuba.

Andy Richardson from Buckingham in the south-east of England told the Famagusta Gazette he had been holidaying in Cyprus for 18 years but it now worked out cheaper for him to take his family to Orlando in Florida.

“I know it’s a longer flight but we took the two kids last year and they loved it. There’s so much for them to do there and It’s so cheap to get to the states now.

“I love Cyprus – we all do – but it’s too expensive now,” he said.

British tourists accounted for 53% of total arrivals in Cyprus for 2007.

The CTO says it is continuing with its efforts to promote the island in the UK but is also launching advertising campaigns in other countries, including Russia and eastern Europe.

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