11 February 2014 12:21

 Drastic changes are needed to retain current tourism markets and tap into new emerging markets like China and Iraq, the president of the Limassol Tourism Board Tony Antoniou said yesterday.
Speaking at the organisation’s annual general meeting, Antoniou said the Limassol tourism board was working on a number of tourism infrastructure projects that will contribute to enriching experiences for holidaymakers on the island.
Priorities include a planned international conference and exhibition centre, that will play a significant role in extending the tourism season and boosting arrivals with the attraction of high level visitors, he said.
“At this moment, the project has the support of the Communications Ministry which we are in constant contact with, working in the best possible way for the specific development,” Antoniou said.
He referred to a marketing plan which has been drafted by the Limassol tourism board and which will have CTO approval and will be implemented in line with economic and other conditions.
The board is working on the promotion of market segments other than “sun and sea”, with special emphasis on conference tourism, cycling tourism, sports tourism, cultural tourism, wellness tourism, educational tourism, accessible tourism, honeymoon tourism, cruises and agrotourism.
“And among our ambitious plans is to render Limassol a cultural centre with noteworthy museums and a modern conference and exhibition centre that will be used for cultural events particularly in the winter months when current choices are limited ,” Antoniou said.
Another major project that will be completed shortly is the creation of the second artificial reef in the sea area of Dasoudi where two boats will be sunk on February 22 as part of the creation of the sea protected area with artificial reefs.
“These projects aim to be a refuge and reproduction areas for a large number of sea organisms and after the creation of the Amathunda artificial reef in 2009, Limassol now has another reference point for snorkelling and diving.”
Addressing the meeting, Energy, Tourism Industry and Commerce Minister George Lakkotrypis said around 250,000 holidaymakers chose Limassol for their holidays in 2013 and this number can increase significantly through the action of the tourism board and the coordination of all interested parties.
“It is widely accepted that Limassol in the last few years is developing into an attractive tourism destination.
“Particularly for the Russian market on which the government and the CTO invest a great deal, Limassol is a favourite destination, with Russians being number one in arrivals in Limassol, followed by the British, Greeks and German tourists,” he said.


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