While the economic situation in Europe has been improving over the last year, not all countries are seeing a strong bounceback from the downturn. The Mediterranean island country of Cyprus is seeing a notable drop in visitor numbers.
Last week, the chairman of the island’s tourism organisation said that while visitor arrivals are down 6.6 percent year-on-year, losses could be contained by the end of 2013.
Alecos Orountiotis told the Cyprus Mail that the island’s biggest source of visitors, the UK, saw a 9.0 percent drop, and the German market was down more than 30 percent. Orountiotis credited the drop to the lack of scheduled flights from German airports, and noted that the EU’s decision to bail the country out back in March forced authorities to close banks and impose capital controls, thus affecting the CTO’s plans for future improvements.
However, the Russian market continued to climb, so far managing a 20 percent rise.
Orountiotis told the paper that efforts were underway to extend the tourist period and turn the island into an all-year-round destination.
But the decrease in visitors is having a far-reaching effect. This past week, Tasoula Manaridis, director of the Cyprus Tourism Organization, announced the closure of the Cyprus Tourism Organization New York Office effective September 14, 2013. "This decision was a result of the current financial crisis in Cyprus and also a decision by the CTO to restructure its tourism offices abroad," Manaridis said in the statement.
"We want to take this opportunity to thank our tour operators, the media, the Archaeological Institute of America, travel agents, airlines, ETC and all travel professionals that supported Cyprus all these years. We are hoping that you will continue your efforts to promote Cyprus in North America just like we did during the last 20 years."