Cyprus tourism will go back 30 years due to the coronavirus pandemic and this is the best case scenario, Phileleftheros reports citing Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios.
“If all goes well and restrictive measures are lifted soon, then the first flow of tourists should be recorded early in July,” Perdios said before adding that no one should expect to see last summer’s figures.
“The best case scenario has our tourism falling by 60% this year compared to last year. We have to compare the 1.5-1.7 million anticipated arrivals in 2020 with those in the 1990s. In other words, our tourism will go back thirty years,” he added.
Tourist arrivals in July 2019 reached a total of 550,971, according to the island’s Statistical Service, and rose to 553,845 in August. Arrival of tourists between January-August 2019 reached 2,735,839, while on an annual basis these totalled 3,976,777.
March, April, May and June last year recorded a total of 1,443,482 arrivals to Cyprus, but these are now considered to be lost months.
In fact, this year’s summer already begins with a loss of 1.4 million arrivals. As for first two months of the year, only 191,214 tourist arrivals had been recorded.
Potential tourists are also concerned over the pandemic’s development in Britain and with Paphos being heavily dependent on this market, the blow is expected to be heavy.
Nonetheless, a total of 1,330,635 British tourists came to Cyprus last year, which was only 33.5% of total arrivals, and this means that the blow from that country could be less than anticipated.
However, Perdios also warned of the worst case scenario, especially if a second wave of the virus breaks out in the fall. “That would be catastrophic, it will simply throw all our planning out of the window,” he said.
He then sent the message that it will take Cyprus years to return to last year’s figures and the success of the recent past.
It will be extremely hard for Cyprus to reach last year’s level even in 2021 because it is uncertain which and how many tour operators and airlines will survive the coronavirus storm, he added.
“We will be very lucky if in 2022 we do manage to be somewhere closer. The next two to three years will be very difficult,” he also said.
By Demetra Landou