Limassol hoteliers are expecting 2014 to be a good year for the town's tourism industry, but stress the need for coordinated and effective efforts from all involved is needed in order to achieve the best possible results.
The local committee of hoteliers expressed its optimism for this year's summer season as they are anticipating an increase in arrivals from the United Kingdom, which remains the island's primary market.
"Prospects for tourist arrivals in the next summer period are looking bright," representative of the hoteliers' association local committee Andreas Kapetanios told Phileleftheros newspaper. Kapetanios also stressed that based on current data and information from meetings with travel agents during the international tourist exhibition in London, hoteliers are very optimistic. However, a complete picture and more specific conclusions can only be drawn at the end of March, when hoteliers will travel to the International Tourist Exhibitions in Berlin and Moscow.
"If we can improve the British and German market even a little and considering the encouraging messages from the Russian tourist market, which is expected to reach 800,000, tourist arrivals in 2014 will possibly achieve a 5% increase compared to the corresponding period in 2013," Kapetanios said.
However, it was made clear that measures must be taken immediately by the government and CTO so that the Russian example in terms of the increase in arrivals is gradually followed by other markets.
Further upgrading and enrichment of the tourist facilities and services is vital to achieve the strategic goals for further development of tourism in Limassol.
At a time when competition is ever increasing, the development of projects like a casino, golf courses, conference centre, football stadiums and sports centres, in combination with proper promotion, can put the town on the global tourism map and single it out as a cosmopolitan seaside destination with a rich history and culture, that is attractive to quality tourists throughout the year.
Commenting on the creation of a casino, Kapetanios said that Limassol is the ideal location for the project not only due to its position between both airports but also because it has the necessary infrastructure and luxury hotels. "Limassol needs a casino and if the government's decision is to only build one, then it should be in our town," he added.
In addition, Kapetanios notes that Limassol has the potential to be promoted and developed further as a tourist destination, with focus on alternative forms of tourism such as religious tourism, cultural, sports, cycling, medical and other kinds involving the environment and the sea.
The continuous need to improve the services offered by tourist accommodation and entertainment establishments is also important, as well as the development of the tourism conscience of those involved in the sector.
Traditional Cypriot hospitality must be showcased by increased employment of Cypriots in the hotel industry, while Kapetanios points out that training courses must be offered immediately to allow the hotel industry to hire more Cypriots in the summer.
Boosting advertising and promoting tourism through campaigns and public relations is also important, as the need to support the sector is crucial at a time when the economy is facing so many problems, Kapetanios added.
Considering that tourism is recognised by the Troika and the government as one of the key areas to help Cyprus exit the crisis and kick-start the economy, it should be supported accordingly.