Chryso Tsokkou "If we want Cyprus to remain on the tourist map, we must become competitive"
The message that Cyprus must make radical cuts in the field of tourism and intensify efforts to turn the island into a tourist destination throughout the year, sends the Executive Director of Tsokkos Hotels, Chryso Tsokkou.
In an interview with Accountancy Cyprus magazine, she expresses her optimism that 2018 will bring a large influx of tourists to the island. «The outlook is favorable and the figures are very promising, given that occupancy levels are high", He said characteristically.
However, he added, "We must take seriously that the tourism industry is very sensitive and easily influenced by external factors. We must therefore intensify our efforts to make Cyprus a tourist destination for the whole year, which will be the key to the prosperity of tourism and the economy of the place in general.».
"This is how we will become competitive"
Although she stressed that Cyprus is a very attractive tourist destination, which is evidenced by the numbers, however, Ms. Tsokkou stressed that concrete steps need to be taken if we want to stay on the tourist map and improve further. In particular, it proposes a series of measures in this direction:
Tourism should be defined as a national issue of major importance and our country should be promoted as full-time tourism.
The Government to offer incentives and subsidies for the upgrade of hotel units and services.
The Government should offer attractive and sustainable funding to minimize dependence on Tour Operators.
To give the same investment incentives for both Cypriots and foreign investors.
To upgrade the tourism and hotel schools
Attract internationally recognized investors or companies in the field of tourism
Structure one-stop services for investors so that there is a reasonable waiting time for the necessary bureaucratic procedures.
The government to invest further in public infrastructure.
It is necessary for Cyprus to develop a unified tourism brand and implement a modern marketing plan. To offer tourists exciting experiences with local characteristics and to reduce visual pollution.
Attract tourists from countries such as China (as part of their trip to the EU), Central Europe (Germany, Austria, the Netherlands), the Nordic countries and Russia
To appoint technocrats and professionals in public organizations and committees, who will help with their expertise in all issues and challenges that arise.
Necessity the Ministry of Tourism
Ms. Tsokkou characterized as the most important for Cyprus the creation of the Ministry of Tourism, a bill that has been pending before Parliament for months. "Tourism," he said, "should be defined as a national issue of major importance. From the Deputy Minister of Tourism, he underlined, we expect:
establishing Cyprus as a destination throughout the year
ensure smooth cooperation between the public and private sectors, close monitoring, helping to address potential barriers and, in particular, productivity and efficiency
to help reduce bureaucracy effectively
define a long-term strategic plan and infrastructure plan so that tourists enjoy high quality services.
Improving the connectivity of the island
offer subsidies and incentives for the upgrade and upgrade of the hotel unit product
To provide solutions to the critical issue of the lack of employees in the tourism industry.
Asked whether all inclusive has positive or negative effects, Ms. Tsokkou said that this is a global trend that is getting stronger every year, mainly due to the fact that the holiday budget can be controlled, especially for families. . "We can not freeze or control this global trend and it is a reality that we have to face," he added.
Going forward, Cyprus conveyed the goal of being able to become a full-time tourist destination by 2030, with 5 million tourists, of which 40% will visit us in the period November - April. "Once we achieve this goal, we will be in a better position to determine how to deal with all the consequences of all inclusive or any other trend," he concluded.
"To maintain our competitiveness"
Asked about the reasons for the rapid growth of tourism in recent years and whether this is related to various negative circumstances of competing countries, Ms. Tsokkou said that this was one of the factors that strengthened the Cypriot tourist flow. " There are several reasons. My opinion is that the geopolitical situation of our competitors was one of the main reasons for our tourism boost. "Therefore, we must maintain our competitiveness by taking many measures that will further help our tourism industry in the future," he said.
Finally, he listed some of the measures, which he estimates will help in this direction:
The government must find attractive and sustainable funding to minimize dependence on Tour Operators.
Government incentives and grants to add additional quality services to existing hotels and upgrade products.
Government and public bodies, dealing with issues affecting tourism (directly or indirectly), to appoint professionals and technical experts in all areas of tourism.
It is absolutely necessary to upgrade the hotel and tourism schools.
The Higher Hotel Institute of Cyprus or its branches to be established in the purely tourist areas (ie in Famagusta).
To develop a branch of a well-known university for hotel studies in these areas,
Authorization and recruitment of staff from third country universities, in particular from Russia, to resolve the vital issue of language and communication with Russian visitors. We must emphasize that the recruitment of staff is one of the most important issues facing the industry.
Employment (in the industry) all year round will attract talent in the hotel industry.
As mentioned above, it is a great opportunity and our responsibility to turn this year's guests into repeat businesses.