13 March 2014 09:45

Tourism officials from the free Famagusta area are cautiously optimistic after contacts with tour operators at the Berlin tourism fair.
But their counterparts from Larnaca are downbeat, saying their meetings indicate their district's hopes of attracting European tourists this summer were "not favourable".
Nana Asimeni of Larnaca's Tourism Promotion and Development Company said that the messages as regards the German market were not encouraging.
The company had its own stand within the CTO pavilion at the Berlin ITP fair held March 4-9.
Asimeni said that arrivals from Germany are expected to be at the same levels as last year.  
Some 98,000 Germans visited the island in 2013, a 30% drop on the year before.
Tour operators were briefed about the projects underway, including the completion of the Piale Pasha seafront road.
Emphasis was given to special interest tourism such as cycling, agrotourism and diving which German tourists prefer.
As regards Russia and the Ukraine, Larnaca is still on standby and hopes the picture will clarify from the Moscow MITT tourist fair that takes place next week.
Russia is Cyprus' second biggest market, while pre-Crimea crisis the island was expecting to host between 60,000 to 80,000 tourists from Ukraine.
The Famagusta area is more upbeat, with Ayia Napa mayor and president of the Famagusta Tourist Promotion and Development Company Yiannis Karousos saying that the delegation returned far from optimistic than when they had left.
He said there had been complaints from German, British and Scandinavian tour operators that Cyprus was over-dependent on the Russian market. They argued that this resulted in hoteliers preferring bookings from Russia than from northern Europe.
Their concerns were dispelled by Tourism Minister George Lakkotrypis and CTO deputy president Angelos Loizou as the Famagusta delegation managed to persuade European travel agents not to cancel their reservations at local hotels.
As regards the Russian and Ukrainian market, the company's manager has travelled to Moscow for contacts to appraise the impact the Crimea crisis will have. One of the issues raised is ensuring Russian tourists can pick up their visas on arrival.
As regards Ukraine, although there have been no cancellations there have been no bookings in the past fortnight.
Russian tour operators face a problem with the drop in the value of the rouble and are trying to secure cheaper rates.
As regards the situation in Ayia Napa, Karousos said that the municipality was clamping down on noise pollution and would also come down hard on hawkers who pester tourists trying to persuade them to visit their restaurants.
Limassol said it doesn't expect more Germans this year although there was interest in cycling, horse riding and marathon running.
The town promoted itself as an ideal wedding and honeymoon destination.


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