Experts discuss tackling ‘difficult year’ ahead for tourism

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Photograph artwork copyright © Travel Gazette.
Photograph artwork copyright © Travel Gazette.

A team of experts has met to discuss the future of tourism in Cyprus, ahead of what could be one of the island’s toughest years, due to the global economic crisis.

The “Tourism of the Future” forum was held yesterday in Nicosia, with several proposals being made about finding ways of supporting an industry certain to see the knock-on effect of the current cash crisis.

Minister of Tourism Antonis Paschalides said the Cyprus government would do its best to support the local tourist industry, and to find the best and more efficient economic ways to help improve the situation.

“Tourism has been and remains a vital economic sector and is one of the government’s top priorities,” he said.

Paschalides insisted that the Ministry and the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO)are committed to working towards the implementation of “the strategic plan for Tourism”, and the upgrading of all services related to the sector.

Last month, Paschalides said he believed 2009 would be a “very difficult year” for tourism on the island, adding that €12million had been earmarked for the CTO in addition to previous funds allocated to the tourist industry.

Procedures for issuing entry visas to persons from third countries are to be simplified and a number of consular offices will open in various countries to help tourists come to Cyprus from Russia, China, India and the Arab countries, he added.

Paschalides said there would also be cooperation between the CTO and Cyprus Airways to help boost the number of arrivals.

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