LIMASSOL - Limassol tourism development board has turned its attention to the British market after arrivals from Russia and Ukraine are expected to be significantly lower than last year.
According to board director Maria Stylianou, the 50% increase in Ukraine arrivals last year will not continue due to the political unrest in the country, while hoteliers who had invested in the market do not expect the increase to exceed 20% this summer.
Meanwhile, the increase in Russian arrivals is also anticipated to be smaller than originally expected, due to political developments and by extension the dramatic change in the rouble-dollar exchange rate, reaching no more than 12%.
Russia is a traditional market for the town’s tourism industry and the tourism board aspires to even a small increase in arrivals due to its participation in tourist exhibitions in Moscow and St Petersburg where local travel agent feedback was encouraging.
Stylianou said there are hopes the gap will be covered by an increase in arrivals from the United Kingdom, as the British market appears to be stabilising.
German arrivals will at best remain the same as last year, while efforts are also being made to regain Scandinavian countries which were also traditional markets for the Limassol tourism industry in the past.
Stylianou said that efforts including the tourism board participation in the tourist exhibition of Helsinki are already underway, adding however that the reduced number of flights to Cyprus and unethical competition between travel agents are crippling factors.
Limassol’s share in the tourist arrivals pie has been significantly reduced in recent years, reaching approximately 12% or 280,000 visitors annually.
According to official CTO figures, Limassol stays dropped 13.7% last year compared to 2012, fell 15.2% in Larnaca, -9.8% in Paphos and increased 6.7% in Famagusta.
To target quality tourism, the Limassol tourism development board has posted a series of videos on YouTube presenting the town as an ideal tourist destination.
It has also created a modern website, while social networking will be used to promote the town. A luxurious edition of the Limassol beach guide from Governor’s beach to Pissouri is currently being prepared.