Statements by General Secretary of the C.C. of AKEL S.Stefanou at the meeting of AKEL with tourism operators.
23 March 2022, AKEL C.C. Press Office, Nicosia
Today we are completing the cycle of contacts and meetings with stakeholders in the tourism industry. We have held meetings with stakeholders in all our provinces to discuss both the problems and the specific proposals that AKEL has elaborated in relation to addressing, as far as possible, the problems faced by the tourism industry against the background of the situation as it is developing in Ukraine and the fact that both Russia and Ukraine are very important countries for Cyprus and tourism too.
Today we are in the free from the Turkish occupation region of Famagusta, which in any case has been hit hard by the pandemic from a tourism point of view and at the same time also by the fact that we are not expected to have any Russian and Ukrainian tourists this year and we need to discuss how to deal with this situation.
Our proposals are based on two main pillars.
The first axis is the rapid and very specific intervention of the state so that by looking for new markets, or by strengthening existing markets, we can bring in a greater number of tourists and can at least partially make up for the loss we will have.
Secondly, we have submitted specific proposals for the strengthening and upgrading of domestic tourism. Domestic tourism provided good and effective solutions during the pandemic period, and we believe that we can now, through strengthening, expanding and creating new domestic tourism projects and schemes, help the tourism industry to survive so that we can see how developments evolve.
We will discuss these proposals and thoughts with tourism stakeholders. We will finalise our proposals and have a meeting with the Deputy Minister of Tourism, relevant government Departments and other competent persons so that precisely through the discussion the best possible solutions are found, but with speed, because we are already at the beginning of the tourist season and we must not waste time.
QUESTION: Do you think that the case of the free region of Famagusta should be treated differently from the other regions, as it is the region that will be most affected by the war in Ukraine? Is this something you will take up with the Deputy Minister?
SS: We will certainly convey our proposals. As I have said, they are very specific, especially those that have to do with domestic tourism, which on the one hand concern the holidays/leave fund, which only concerns a part of working people.
AKEL’s view is that the state must allocate funds, prepare schemes and include working people as well who are outside the fund in a targeted way, helping primarily those groups of the population who do not have the financial means to take a holiday. So by making use of domestic tourism, by giving opportunities, incentives and means to Cypriots to be able to take their holiday in Cyprus so that on the one hand we can support the tourism industry and on the other to give the necessary economic respite.Cyprus tourism