When the Undersecretary of Tourism estimated last year that this year's tourist season would start earlier than other years, he obviously had in mind the incentive plan approved by the European Commission for tour operators valid until April. This is a plan that was submitted to the Commission for approval and is a continuation of the incentive plan for tour operators abroad that was implemented last summer. The new plan, which was finally approved only last Thursday by the Commission, provides, like the one implemented in the summer, the subsidy of travel organizers for each night they will bring to Cyprus until the end of April, if they commit to a minimum of 7 thousand. nights in legal accommodation.
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Speaking to “F”, the Deputy Minister of Tourism Savvas Perdios, the subsidy amounts to 2.5 euros for each night, adding that the plan is implemented if the tour operators will either charter flights for arrivals until April or will use seats on scheduled flights. The plan, he said, aims, among other things, to boost the arrivals of the first four months, in order to achieve the goal set for a restart earlier this year of the tourist season, but also to facilitate the efforts made to make Cyprus a full-time destination. The goal, said Mr. Perdios, is to “boost” in March and April with the incentives to the travel organizers, adding that the incentive plan will be announced to all associates of the ministry abroad.
Mr. Perdios estimated that the approval by the Commission of the incentive plan, but also the timely approval of the protocol of operation of the destinations by the Council of Ministers also last week, which will enter into force on March 1, will strengthen the general efforts. for a restart earlier this year of the tourist year, which last year actually started at the end of June. Only in this way, the Undersecretary added, will the goal set be achieved so that this year is even better than last year for tourism. According to the Deputy Minister of Tourism, the hotel industry now has all the data before it to make its own decisions regarding when the units will reopen, claiming that both the destination operation protocol and the incentive plan for travel organizers give enough time. for the opening of hoteliers and at the same time facilitate their operation earlier.
We note that based on what the Commission has announced on the subject, the Cypriot support program of 2 million euros approved as compatible with the emergency support measures and the temporary framework for state aid implemented by the EU itself, concerns the support of travel agents affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Under the program, state aid will take the form of direct grants. The measure, according to the EU, is addressed to travel agents who are active in KD and have concluded contracts with airlines that operate flights to Cyprus through the airports of Larnaca and Paphos. The purpose of the program is to provide incentives for inbound tourism, while at the same time indirectly benefiting many related businesses, such as hotels, restaurants, the food industry, as well as cultural and sporting events. According to the EU, the aid will not exceed € 2.3 million per beneficiary and will be granted by 30 April 2022 at the latest.