More than 750,000 Russian tourists are expected to visit Cyprus in 2014 compared to 650,000 in 2013, chairman of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) board of directors Angelos Loizou said.
Speaking at the House Finance Committee to discuss the CTO’s 2014 budget, Loizou said that in relation to the crisis in Ukraine and the effect on Russian arrivals, travel organisers are more concerned by the currency exchange rate between the euro and the rouble.
“We were told that if the exchange rate stabilised at 50 roubles against the euro, there would be no problems in the arrivals from Russia,” Loizou said, adding that today the rate is 48.39 roubles to the euro and “it seems that the Russian market will reach the target of 750,000 tourist arrivals up from 650,000 in 2013”.
The chairman said that the organisation’s budget “has reached its limits” and that the state subsidy has been reduced to €48 million in 2014 down from €56.62 in 2013 and €102m in previous years.
The drop of €2.27m is covered by CTO revenue and its own resources, Loizou added.
He also mentioned that there was a “significant reduction” of expenses, with staff income being cut back to €11.73m from €13.30m in 2013.
However, the main problem is focused on the budget for promotion and advertising which was cut to €27m this year down from €53m in 2010.
A new strategy to promote the CTO tourist product is underway abroad while targeted actions have been taken to achieve this goal, including the cancellation of advertising campaigns worth €8m in four countries because they were not targeted.
In relation to the strategy in the long-run, Loizou noted that anything the CTO is discussing with airlines and travels organisers is on a three-year basis.
Meanwhile, the chairman said that it is vital to resolve the issue of seasonality in order make a profit.
Vice-chair of the House Finance Committee Angelos Votsis expressed his satisfaction as “despite the constant reduction of state sponsorship and revenue at the CTO, the results for last year were definitely satisfactory, and also seem to be positive for this year”.
“It seems like the crisis in Ukraine and Russia’s involvement does not affect the arrivals from this country and we are hoping to have another good year,” Votsis added.
Russia is the island’s second largest tourist market after Britain.