Hotel managers are calling for continued policy support for hotel units, continued incentives for airlines and the promotion of a targeted and innovative tourism product in an effort to support the tourism industry amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at the 37th Annual General Assembly of the Pancyprian Association of Hotel Managers, Transport Minister Giannis Karousos stressed that the new policy for categorizing countries and incentives for airlines will maintain the country's connectivity, while Deputy Minister of Tourism stressed that this policy disconnects the journey from the issue of vaccines.
Karousos: The new categorization policy will give an advantage
In his address to the assembly, Mr. Karousos referred to the new policy for the categorization and entry of tourists in the country, which enters into force on May 1st. As he said, the new policy is not based on quarantine, but on the negative coronavirus test based on the ECDC color categorization. This policy included 56 countries including the EU and countries with a significant impact on Cyprus, such as Russia, Ukraine, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt.
“I think the plan will give us an advantage over several other destinations,” he said, adding that instructions from the Ministry of Health on handling vaccinations are now awaited.
“It is clear to us that if someone is vaccinated, no test will be required, they will travel freely,” he said, noting that the final instructions of the Ministry of Health are expected.
At this point, Mr. Karousos stressed the importance of a good epidemiological image for Cyprus itself. “If we are in the deep red, the tourists themselves will not want to travel to our country,” he said.
At the same time, Mr. Karousos said that the incentive and risk-sharing plan with airlines that maintain Cyprus in their flight program of € 4.2 million will continue until the end of June with the approval of the EU Directorate-General for Competition.
He even said that this program is being discussed in order to be a model for other EU countries.
“We have a difficult period ahead of us and we are committed to maintaining the connectivity of our country,” he concluded.
Perdios: We are not dependent on vaccines
In his recorded greeting, Mr. Perdios said that as in 2020 and 2021 it is expected to be difficult for tourism due to the continuation of the pandemic.
He referred to the three pillars of the action plan of the Ministry of State and especially to the advertising campaign that will be “the biggest that will ever take place abroad”.
He also noted that this year will be the launch of the new tourist logo of Cyprus, since its presentation last year was postponed due to the pandemic.
Regarding the new policy governing entry into the country, the Deputy Minister of Tourism highlighted the fact that the protocol is based on coronavirus tests and not on vaccines, the widespread use of which seems to be delayed.
“This is a protocol for entering the country based on tests, based on international categorization, coordinated with that of Europe, so that it is clear how one can come to our country, whether he has the vaccine or not,” he said, adding that These decisions were made correctly “always thinking of the worst case scenario, that is, the vaccine will not be our ally and so it seems at least in the first half”.
“It was a given that there would be difficulties and a vaccine can not determine whether Cyprus will work or not, nor can it determine the quality of the services we will offer as a tourist destination,” he stressed.
In his speech, the President of PASYDYXE Christos Angelidis spoke about a vicious circle caused in world tourism by the continuation of the pandemic and the Lockdowns that affect travelers.
“The pandemic seems to be overturning the current model of tourism operation. “We are all worried if we worry and fight and we are called to work out the worst case scenario that concerns our survival”, said Mr. Angelidis, adding that everything that until now seemed to be a routine is presented as a dilemma.
He referred to the prevailing uncertainty in the issue of travel due to the lack of clear and uniform regulations and health protocols between European countries.
“Forecasts for the type and number of tourists are difficult and precarious and therefore ingenuity and innovation in targeting and promoting a tourism product becomes imperative,” he added.
In particular, he called for the continuation of the policy of support for hotel units facing the issue of survival, the continuation of the incentive policy for airlines, but also the granting of targeted incentives for new tourist units and the upgrading of existing ones.
He also stressed the need to improve the epidemiological image of Cyprus, saying that “all our actions will not bring the desired result if the overall picture does not inspire confidence and does not inspire security in the traveling public.”
Moreover, the President of the Pancyprian Hoteliers Association, Haris Loizidis said in his own greeting that the prospects for the first half of 2021 are not as favorable as initially thought due to the delay in the production of vaccines against Covid-19.
“The first indications are that the first five maybe six months will probably be lost, raising the degree of difficulty for the recovery to take place,” he said, adding that it is very important to enhance the attractiveness of the tourism product we offer.
Finally, Costas Galatariotis, Vice President of the CCCI said that the Ministry of Tourism should participate in the political decision-making team for the coronavirus.
“If decisions are made that affect tourism, the Undersecretary must be in the first part of the decisions. “If the Undersecretary or the Ministry of Commerce were in the group, some decisions that turned out to be unfortunate would not be taken,” he said.