“Tell them you have the best climate in EU, all year-around”

41

By Stelios Orphanides

  • But address connectivity, create brand and get your act together, tourism experts advise government 

The implementation of the proposed national tourism strategy aiming at almost doubling tourist arrivals and tripling tourist revenue by 2030, requires addressing several of the most critical challenges, including the costly absence of both sufficient air connectivity and the brand.

Achieving these goals would create 47,000 new, better paying jobs, attract €20bn in new investment and double the share of tourism in Cyprus’s economy by 2030 which was 14 per cent in 2015, according to the executive summary of the “Cyprus Tourism Strategy 2030” which was prepared by the Barcelona-based THR Innovative Tourism Advisors on behalf of the government. But for Cyprus to reverse the trend of diminishing returns in tourist arrivals, it will have to rethink and overhaul governance and infrastructure and allow meaningful cooperation of private and public sectors so as to increase value for all stakeholders.

The strategy paper, seen by the Cyprus Business Mail, proposes highlighting Cyprus’s best strategic advantage, namely its climate by conveying the message to buyers that “the best climate in Europe, all year-around” and its single “strategic advantage” – complementary to other assets, including “good beaches, very clean sea water,” and experience in managing tourism services.

“After carefully analysing various different options, it is recommended that Cyprus develops a competitive advantage based on having the best climate in Europe accompanied by three complementary advantages which serve to reinforce the main competitive advantage,” the paper said. “This will require a greater communication effort but will provide better results.”

Since, after security, “good weather is still the second-most important criterion when it comes to choosing a tourist destination,” Cyprus can capitalise its European Union membership and its climate.

Cyprus, which last year attracted almost 3.2m tourists, 20 per cent up on 2015, could see the number of incoming tourists rise to almost 4.9m by 2030, with revenue rising to €6.8bn compared to an estimated €2.4bn last year. In 2015, an 8.9 per cent increase in arrivals translated into a rise in revenue of 4.4 per cent while in 2014, revenue dropped 2.8 per cent in defiance of 1.5 per cent more tourists.

An analysis of Cyprus’s “tourism cluster” has shown that the island’s competitiveness as a destination is “medium to low” which is unfavourable to both investment and “decent wages”. Therefore, “Cyprus should make significant economic and political efforts to improve its competitiveness as a tourist destination by improving its value proposition, air connectivity and levels of cooperation and governance,” the strategy paper said.

Part of the recommendations of the strategy paper is the establishment of a body led by “a dedicated minister or deputy minister” to lead the strategic sector development. Before it becomes official, the cabinet will have to approve the new strategy whose preparation was overseen by Undersecretary to the President Constantinos Petrides, head of the government’s unit of administrative reform.

The new strategy aims also at mitigating strategic risks, such as the over-reliance on British and Russian visitors who make up almost 61 per cent of incoming tourists and buy “sun & sea holidays” from large tour operators. All that has a negative impact on seasonality and the profitability of the Cypriot tourism industry, the paper said.

Also, in the absence of other strategic advantages, beside Cyprus’s climate, Cyprus should offset the deficit with a “unique system of memorable experiences”, and address the visual pollution, gastronomical weaknesses, and the lack of an “internal public transport from the airport”, the strategy said. “Major efforts will be required here to excellently develop and operate a menu of unique and memorable experiences.”

Stakeholders, including the government and Hermes Airports which operates both Cyprus’s international airports, will need to do more to improve Cyprus’s air connectivity to source markets in both medium and low seasons, the strategy paper said. “This is the most critical weakness,” the paper warned.

The second most critical weakness, is Cyprus’s brand or the absence of it, the paper said. Potential customers are unaware of what Cyprus as a destination has to offer and as a result choose alternative Mediterranean destinations, and so, developing a brand is a priority.

In order to effectively address the visual pollution causing Cyprus to look more like a “banal plastic destination”, the island needs “political agreements” in order to regain its “strongly Cypriot personality”, the report said. Improved governance, leadership and cooperation mechanisms are therefore key.

“Cyprus must completely transform this situation by increasing the level of government involvement, promoting efficient partnerships amongst the private sector and creating the necessary government bodies to manage the island’s tourism system well,” the paper said.

 

tourism strategy graph

Share.

About Author

Stelios Orphanides is a journalist at CyprusBusinessMail.com. To contact Stelios Orphanides: [email protected]

  • Pullaard

    Blah, blah, blah. You can start by getting a regular and efficient airport bus service, 24/7 from Paphos to Limassol, Nicosia, Larnaca where it would meet up with another to the east coast resorts. A bus which can drop off/pick up in town centres and not be faced with the farce of having to stay on the outskirts due to the demands of the bl..dy taxi drivers and successive governments’ inability to deal with them. Such a service is necessary, unless you want tourists to continue to book all-in holidays which sees them permanently in the hotels and spending their money there instead of locally.

    • geecee

      Yes. A public transport system in general is needed. One that actually works and isn’t just a mechanism to suck as much monet possible from the state like the current one is.

    • Slomi

      A very good view. We ,genuinely need it.

    • Mike-H

      As long as people come through the airport their enjoyment is of little concern to the authorities .Most places closed, coldest I have been for a long time
      Paphos town nearly as bad as Syria. My family are now going to Portugal for their holidays.

      • Neroli

        I agree it does look like Syria – after the war. And yes people I have been to Syria!!

    • Banjo

      A railway would be a terrific addition to the island. Not a big island wide one , just a couple of lines , along the south coast with the airports served and a link to Nicosia.

      • Neroli

        Can you imagine the cost when all and sundry have had their hands involved!!

        • Banjo

          Yes indeed. The cost would be high without any brown envelopes but it’s an investment for the future and would bring long term benefits. Perhaps would could even get those nice people at the EU to pay for some of it. 🙂

          • Neroli

            I’m sure the nice people in the EU have had enough for forking out!!

  • Caulkhead

    Maybe not the best week to mention the climate :-))

    • Neroli

      Climate’s great!

      • Slomi

        I had been out for running alongside the Dhekelia/Larnaka beach. Neroli, trust me, it was very dirty with the poos of dogs, empty bottles and tins etc. Bushes and weeds all around. pheww.

        • Neroli

          I know Slomi the place is filthy! In front of us there is the sea and natural sea front very beautiful but the fishermen leave their bottle and trash and the hunters go there for lunch and leave everything there!

          • Slomi

            these people do not care. Neither these restaurant owners do care.

        • peemdubya

          Picking up your dog’s mess seems to be anathema to so many here, not only amongst the Cypriots and East Europeans – a Brit couple on our street just walk the dog and ignore it leaving it’s pile along the way, makes my blood boil!!

          • Yaz

            I stay in Larnaca, Drosia and the area is filled with dog dooooo YUK! I walk many places and there are certain spots that people take their dogs to do their mess, it literally piles up and I see that the street cleaners come and give it a clean every few days. It is more than disgusting, that even my 6 year old is shocked, asking why don’t people pick it up. My neighbour lets his dog out every morning as we are walking to school…that is 365, days of crap! It stinks of this…and the people I have seen at night trying to sneakily take their dogs out and sheepishly look at you as you walk / drive past, if their dogs were not so big…I would have a word….

          • Slomi

            It is a problem now as everyone seems to have a dog while walking(seems some fashion) but no one seems to take care of their dog’s natural activity in public. Disgusting.

    • Slomi

      climate is a gift of Nature and not an earning by the people .The tragedy is that with this “fantastic”climate, this tourism office, as well as individual local restaurant owners/hotel owners are not working hard on their professional skills. Most of local staff is stiff, rude and lazy. The serving staff (if not from other countries) is not smiling and pleasant towards the clients. Beaches are dirty, and dusty and full of weeds and bushes. This will attract only low class tourists or Russians .

      • Neroli

        I agree we can’t control the weather today is beautiful but we can control the rubbish, and the tavernas, hotels restaurants should be open

      • Yaz

        Some places the staff are more than rude. We went out this evening and got a few items wrong on our order. My husband usually goes nuts at them, as the attitude is appalling, but this evening we decided to leave it and write online to the company in question….social media does wonders for franchises….as they have agreements. If the woman serving us might have cracked a smile, would have made it acceptable but it was not.

        • Slomi

          I am glad there are a few like you who can react against unprofessional and rude attitude of restaurant owners and their serving staff who in most of the cases are their relatives or some ill- paid ,non-trained foreigner staff members. These owners never pay attention for the training of serving staff. These waiters throw plates on our tables, and do not know serving etiquette or professional smile norms.They simply do not bother about us. Same is in supermarkets.

          • Jim Demetrios

            Good Morning Slomi. I think we spoke about this once before. I look at it this way. If I go to a place with bad service, bad food or products, dirty or what have you, I always write an online review. Hopefully people will read my review and a few will pick another place.
            And unless the proprietor writes back to me with an explanation or an apology, I never, ever go back.
            i will tell you that during our stay in Strovolos the service was about 50/50. Good/bad. My stay in Oroklini was about 95/5 good/bad. I kind of missed writing bad reviews. Here in Manhattan, I would say it is 70/30 good/bad.

          • Slomi

            Hi Jim, I think Oroklini is much better a place than Strovolos.

          • Jim Demetrios

            I remember, as a child spending some time in Cyprus, my grandfather telling me horror stories about the British attrocities when they were in charge of the island before 1960. Since then I have had a little exposure to Great Britain and even spent some time there for my MBA international studies courses. It was a pleasure once I got past the lousy coffee and warm beer.
            Oriklini has mostly British expatriates and tourists with a few Russian and Israelis thrown in and the Cypriots scattered around. It was an absolute pleasure. Funny that the next time I go to Cyprus I will search for the places with less Cypriots and more foreigners. And yes, I am a first generation American of Greek Cypriot parents.

        • Jim Demetrios

          I agree. I always get on Trip Advisor after visiting a restaurant and try to give an honest review. If I can’t find the restaurant listed there, I go to Google reviews. It does wonders as a bad review is our little form or revenge for bad food or service.

  • JSReturnsAgain

    Lol – Security is implicated as the top priority….mentioned once in a throw away line. Until one of the airports in decimated. Went to both airports over Christmas. Flunkies in uniforms with guns and hi vis non entities huddling in the warm whilst unattended mini buses and vans sat right outside next to hundreds of tourists. Unfortunately, one incident and we are Tunisia or Egypt. The arrogance of ‘it couldnt happen here’ will be very sad and poignant words at some point.

    • I did raise a few eyebrows when i was running into the airport in my army surplus gear recently with 5 dog crates on my shoulder.

      • peemdubya

        LOL!!!!

  • Alexander Reuterswärd

    Try visiting the Canary islands, part of Europe and the weather is warmer in the winter and colder in the summer. And what a surprise, it’s more affordable.

    • Slomi

      Actually yessss.Thanks for pointing it out:)

      • Alexander Reuterswärd

        slomi 🙂 its about time you go on a holiday to spain (canary islands is part of spain as well) 🙂 You would be surprised of how pleasant life is here.

        • Slomi

          Actually,I am thinking of:) thanx:))))

    • Banjo

      Usually there is very little between winter temperatures in Cyprus and Canary Islands , although canarys usually a degree or two more. Today , Larnaca 18 degrees Gran Canaria 17.

      On balance Cyprus is just a nicer place to be.

      Islands aren’t really the place to be though in winter , if you want the place to be ‘open ‘ you need to compromise on a few degrees and go to a mainland resort. Benidorm ( as you’ll know ) is ‘open’ but not as warm. I’ve enjoyed a few winter holidays there.

      • Alexander Reuterswärd

        I agree completly about benidorm, its a few degrees colder (windy today and 16-18 degrees, but yes everything is open and the hotels is fully booked (but with tourists going on very cheap packege holidays).

        Everyone talks premium, but the reality as i see it is that clean beaches, good food, affordable and most importantly busy bars and restaurants attracts all kind of people and not just premium and that creates a nice mix that is great for everyone..

        The canary islands has warmer evenings in the wintertime, and that makes it more pleasant (i think) 🙂

        • Banjo

          Yes , you’re right about evening temperatures.
          During the day , a couple of degrees here or there make little noticeable difference.

      • Jim Demetrios

        So I rented a villa by the water in Oroklini for the months of December and January. The first night there, I met one of my neighbors who was wearing a scarf, an overcoat and a Russian hat. I thought it strange since the temperatures were very moderate. I am from New York City with pretty cold temperatures in January. Well, a week later, I bought an overcoat, gloves, a scarf and a nice heavy woolen hat. I think it was the coldest I can ever remember in winter.
        So much for best weather all year round. To me, far from the truth.

    • Mist

      Had a week in the most westerly one, Santa Cruz de la Palma in october, Main industries bananas, observatories and german tourists, very clean, good cheap restaurants, car rental and hotels.

  • martin

    cy has bad climate some days in summer is 45c and winter some days 2c.the houses in cy no insulation very bad to heat and in summer you need costly ac or you will never sleep.go to the canaries that’s the climate you want and you get title deeds and they don’t cheat everyone.

  • martin

    banjo were you drunk when you posted that

  • GSP

    Our ‘experts’ recommend an ‘unforgettable experience’ We have that already for some, it is the taxi ride from the airport.

  • peemdubya

    “the best climate in Europe, all year-around”, “experience in managing tourism services” – not two phrases that trip off the lips when discussing our island, and doubtless nothing much will change no matter who is in charge of improving the situation. International adverts – pretty much non-existent unless it is for AI hotels. Depressing………..