Insider / ΚΥΠΕ
Deputy Minister of Tourism Savvas Perdios said that he received optimistic messages about Cyprus from Russian tour operators and airlines.
Mr. Perdios is in Moscow for the second time in a few weeks for meetings with Russian government officials, while earlier he had visited the Russian capital for meetings with travel organizers and airlines.
“There is widespread optimism in the Russian market for travel abroad and especially for Cyprus, we have always been among the top market preferences, but especially in the midst of a pandemic,” Perdios told KYPE from Moscow.
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The first visit was made in order to inform the tour operators and the airlines about the new protocol, as well as about the extraordinary incentive plan of the Ministry, which was approved by the European Union.
“It is no coincidence that the arrivals have already started from Russia – after some hoteliers had informed us that they had never arrived from Russia at that time – and I think this is directly related to our last trip,” he added.
Request for chartered flights and increase of flights from regional airports
During the new visit, the Deputy Minister of Tourism met with the Minister of Transport and the head of the competent Tourism Authority of the Russian Federation, in order to convey their request for chartered flights to Cyprus, which have been suspended during a pandemic, as well as more flights from the country's regional airports.
“These obstacles existed last year as well and we wanted to ask with individual updates to reconsider these two issues and we informed about our own moves to facilitate travel,” said the Deputy Minister of Tourism, adding that the arguments of Cyprus include approval of the sputnik and sputnik light vaccines and facilities such as the free quarantine for those tourists who get sick in Cyprus.
Asked about the response he received to the Cypriot demands, Mr. Perdios said that his interlocutors have not yet expressed their thoughts, “but I am sure that it will be something that will concern them because they heard live what we did to facilitate them. and how we provide security for travelers. “
He explained that, as is the case in Cyprus, the Russian authorities have a specialized committee to manage the pandemic.
Cyprus has air links with Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Krasnodar, Kazan, Perm, Novogorod, Novosibirsk, Rostov, Ufa, Kaliningrad, Omsk, Volgograd, Voronezh and Voronezh.
“It is positive that we have penetrated into regional cities, we want to take another step and allow more flights a week from regional airports for each airline,” said Mr Perdios, adding that if these two demands are met, this will increase tourist arrivals from Russia in addition to about half a million last year.
“We will talk about numbers beyond 2021, but based on the situation we have today,” said the Deputy Minister of Tourism.
At the same time, Mr. Perdios said that the other reason for the new visit to the Russian capital was in view of some exhibitions that start in Russia from next month, but also in view of the start of holiday planning by the world.
“It is very important for Cyprus to figure in the choices of travelers from Russia, in the media and in the airlines”, before the promotion starts from other countries, he added.
Finally, Mr. Perdios also said that the Ministry of Tourism made a new appointment with both bodies in June, probably in the context of the Economic Forum in St. Petersburg.
The picture is better than 2021
Asked about the bigger picture for 2022, given that the situation is normalized in relation to travel, Mr. Perdios noted that after traveling to 20 countries, including the main markets of Cyprus, there seems to be a climate change this year, which stems from the fact that we know how a destination works in terms of pandemic management, high vaccination in many countries, but also the changing psychology of the world.
He also pointed out that based on Google data, searches for Cyprus are double and triple compared to the corresponding period last year.
“This also shows the mood for travel and I believe that because we were informed in time about the new protocol and the incentives, I believe that we will do better than 2021 with the data we have before us today.”
However, he noted that a clearer picture will be around the end of March, when the summer season is approaching. “The fact is that the demand is high not only for Cyprus but for travel in general,” he added.
Short-term solutions for job needs
Asked about the needs for jobs, which are recorded in the tourism industry, Mr. Perdios said that the issue falls within the competence of the Ministry of Labor, but added that there are short-term solutions until the problem is addressed.
As he mentioned, the Turkish Cypriots who applied for employment through unions in the free areas could be used, especially those who live near the roadblocks, as well as the students who study in Cyprus by being given jobs in various positions.
“It would be worrying for us after so many efforts to persuade tourists to travel to Cyprus, to suffer at the service level,” he concluded.