Cyprus suffers sharp decrease in tourism revenue and tourist arrivals

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Cyprus’ revenue from tourism for January-April this year has declined by 7.5 percent, Cypriot President Demetris Christofias revealed on Wednesday.

Facing a decrease of foreign tourist arrivals by 8.9 percent, the president called for joint action to contain the fallout of the world economic downturn on the island’s tourism industry.

“Now is the time to work together to cut the losses of the crisis provided that we learn from the omissions of the past and move together towards the right direction,” Christofias told a meeting of travel agents.

He assured that the government in cooperation with all stakeholders will continue efforts to support tourism and will not hesitate to take swift and well-thought decisions for the benefit of its tourism industry.

The government has already announced a 52-million-euro (about 71.97 million U.S. dollars) plan to boost tourism, along with a new holiday voucher scheme targeting local holiday-makers.

Cyprus, which has seen a decline in tourist arrivals from many European Union states, also plans to introduce pre-approved visas to Russians in a bid to attract more holiday makers to this Mediterranean island. Cypriot consular services in Russia will issue “e-visas” to simplify procedures for Russian tourists.

However,Cypriot tourism operators admit that they are now facing more competitors from Turkey and Egypt, where relatively low operative costs give them the opportunity for more competitive offers to Cyprus’ traditional markets.

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