Travel agents are confident that 2022 will be much better for tourism in comparison to 2021, the Association of Cyprus Travel Agents (Acta) said this week.
Head Vasilis Stamataris was speaking at a press conference held on Tuesday to announce the launch of Acta’s annual travel exhibition ‘Taxidi 2022’ which will be held between April 29 and May 1 at the State Fair. The exhibition did not take place in the past two years because of Covid-19 restrictions.
Asked about the possibility of a crisis in the tourism sector due to Ukraine and the loss of the Russian market, he said that the war has indirectly affected tourism, adding however that authorities are trying to reduce this impact through various actions.
Acta spokesman Charis Papacharalambous said that covering the gap would be “exceptionally difficult, even impossible to cover”.
“The markets of central Europe have the potential, especially due to the increased number of flights from these countries, to fill some gaps. Because we are talking about last-minute bookings due to the coronavirus, it is difficult to have an accurate estimate,” he said.
Stamataris added that movement to other European and non-European countries continues with some reluctance, but there is hope that opening to new markets will help maintain tourist numbers in Cyprus.
As regards this year’s tourist numbers compared to those recorded in the past two years, Papacharalambous stressed that it is possible to make some estimations but with great caution due to many unstable factors.
Nevertheless, interest for travel is high worldwide, which reflects on the Cypriot market, he said.
Based on data collected for March and April 2022 and last-minute bookings made in the last three years, “it is safe to say we will have a much better year than 2021, without of course reaching 2019 levels”.
A more sensible estimate, the spokesman said, would be somewhere between 2019 and 2021. “2021 ended with 1.4 million arrivals to 2019’s 4.3 million. Something close to 3 million [for 2022] would be considered a success”.
Speaking about the travel habits of Cypriots, he said the most popular travel destination is Greece, followed by other European countries and the UK.
Asked about this year’s prices as opposed to those from the past two years, Papacharalambous said they are slightly higher because of price increases across the board.
He added that these price increases are particularly acute in periods of increased mobility, such as Easter, while flights to and from Greece are almost fully booked.
To this, Stamataris added that because new airlines have established routes to and from Cyprus, it is possible for them to be competitive, keeping prices stable.