THE Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) said yesterday it was “very optimistic” for tourist arrivals from the Ukraine, one of the island’s great white hopes in finding alternative, growing, markets to replace the shrinking ones.
The CTO said in an announcement it made a “great impression” during last month’s Ukrainian International Travel Market (UITM 2013) adding that between February and September this year arrivals from Ukraine marked a 66 per cent rise compared with the same period last year.
Arrivals for September alone went up by 78 per cent, the CTO said. Around 5,600 tourists came from Ukraine in September, according to the island’s statistical services, Cystat.
In total 27,957 visitors came from Ukraine up until September this year. In 2012 some 19,482 visited Cyprus, and 14,279 in 2011.
Authorities took steps in 2012 to make it easier for Ukrainian tourists to come to Cyprus by introducing faster and more efficient online tourist visa applications. Cypriot companies are the biggest foreign investors in Ukraine, and the two countries have a solid and growing financial relationship, while the CTO has a Kiev office to encourage visits.
“The CTO is very optimistic for tourist arrivals from Ukraine in 2013”, the CTO said adding it hoped for some 50,000 visitors from Ukraine in 2014.
Ukrainian International Airlines have flights between Larnaca and Kiev during winter, with Wizz Air starting flights from Donetsk this coming March. Cyprus and Ukraine have recently agreed to an open skies policy. A similar agreement with Russia seems to be bearing fruit. Major Russian tour operators Biblioglobus have expressed an interest to bring in about 60,000 visitors by the end of April, Ayia Napa mayor Yiannis Karousos told the Cyprus News Agency.