Before the anti-Russian sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic, May was the month when Russian tourists flocked to sunny Cyprus en masse, but this year the Mediterranean island was left without one of its main sources of vacationers. As the Head of the Famagusta Hoteliers Association stated, a “big hole” was left for Russian tourists.
The ongoing special operation in Ukraine has left key Famagusta tourism players scrambling to find ways to fill the gap created by the resulting outflow of Russian travelers. This became especially noticeable in May.
May started badly: the decline in tourist traffic compared to the same pre-Covid period in 2019 reached a maximum of 50%. According to the head of the Famagusta Hoteliers Association, Doros Takkas, it is now clear that a big “hole” from the Russians cannot be patched this year.
However, local businesses hope that in the coming months – starting from June – the situation in the world will improve or at least become more satisfactory and the Russians will go to Cyprus again. “The backlog of Russia this month was more than noticeable. I think that the occupancy of hotels in this area will not exceed 40-50%, whereas we used to have 80-90% at this time. The situation is very difficult,” the expert complained.
On the other hand, the Deputy Minister of Tourism of Cyprus, Savvas Perdios, has a more optimistic view of the near future of Cypriot tourism: “In 2019, when we had a record number of arrivals (4 million), 20% were from Russian-speaking markets. This year we expected 800,000 arrivals from these countries alone, but a Russian military operation has begun. But we managed to partly mitigate these losses due to our growth in other markets.”
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