Tourist Arrivals up 6.9 Percent Inbound tourism numbers to Cyprus increased 6.9 percent in February from 42,327 in the corresponding month in 2013, to 45,227.
British Airways has announced the resumption of its direct services between Pafos International Airport and London Gatwick Airport.
02 MSC Cruises Honours Top Kinisis Travel Top Kinisis Travel been recognised as one of MSC Cruises’ most prestigious and distinctive partners.
09 IN THIS ISSUE MARKET UPDATE
NEWS & EVENTS
British Airways Relaunches Paphos – Gatwick Route
TRAVEL TRADE PUBLICATIONS MANAGING EDITOR Mary Kammitsi email@example.com COPY EDITOR
Amathus Maintains Financial Results Amathus’ financial results remained nearly unchanged in year-on-year comparisons, with the group’s revenue amounting to EUR25.4 million in 2013, in contrast to EUR28.3 million in 2012.
Emily Millett SENIOR JOURNALIST Rita Kasziba
JOURNALIST Maria Kazeli PRESS Maria Demetriadou Pauline Shahabian DESIGN & LAYOUT Elena Stylianou DIRECTORS Andreas Constantinides Mary Kammitsi HEADQUARTERS T.T.W. Travel Trade Weekly LTD P.O. Box 25255, Nicosia 1308 Cyprus Tel: +357 22 021607, Fax: +357 22 103607 WEBSITE www.traveltradecyprus.travel EMAILS firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
he statistics show a decrease of EUR2.9 million attributable to a drop in the income of the outgoing tourism department, and lower business at Amathus Beach Hotel Limassol. Consequently, the company’s loss for 2013 totalled EUR465,633 versus a loss of EUR440,709 in 2012, thanks to the reduction of financial expenses, the improvement in the results of associated companies, Leisure Holdings and Claridge, and a decrease in
the depreciation. On December 2013, Amathus signed an agreement with M.A. Luxury Hotels and Elerfield Holdings to establish a new company. Amathus will be 25 percent stakeholder in the new business which is also set to purchase Amathus Beach Hotel Limassol for EUR71 million. The final sale agreement of Amathus Beach Hotel Limassol to the new company, Amathia Luxury Hotels, was inked in January.
AEGEAN: Strong Profit for 2013
PRINTED IN CYPRUS Cyprint Plc P.O. Box 58300, CY-3732, Limassol, Cyprus Tel: +357 25 720035, Fax: +357 25 720123 Email: email@example.com
AEGEAN Airlines has recorded a net profit of EUR66.3 million for 2013, an improvement of almost EUR77 million on the EUR10.5 million loss the carrier posted in 2012. Driven by strong passenger demand the Greek airline’s revenue rose 21 percent to EUR682.7 million. October 2013 saw the completion of AEGEAN Airlines’ acquisition of Olympic Air, the latter of which generated a revenue of EUR167.4 million
for the full year of 2013, while net losses after taxes stood at EUR13.9 million. As Dimitris Gerogiannis, managing director, AEGEAN Airlines, noted, the company achieved several milestones in 2013, and, although further effort and time is required to witness tangible increased competitiveness, the purchase of Olympic Air has already shown the benefits of the recent network synergy.
Accurate as of
Tourist Arrivals up 6.9 Percent
I Picture of the Month
nbound tourism numbers to Cyprus increased 6.9 percent in February from 42,327 in the corresponding month in 2013, to 45,227. Recording 39,408 tourist arrivals, Europe made up the largest feeder market, with arrivals from the UK taking up the lion’s share rising 6.2 percent from 15,323 in February 2013, to 16,172. Despite a 4.4 percent decline in figures from Greece from 6,540 to 6,254, the Mediterranean country remained the island’s second largest international source market, followed by Russia, which showed a 0.3 percent drop with numbers standing at 4,084 compared to 4,098 in 2013. Meanwhile, Asia accounted for 4,055 arrivals and the GCC region was represented by 1,153 travellers. America brought 988 visitors to the island, while tourist numbers from Africa and Oceania stood at 451 and 324 respectively. All in all, for the period January – February, arrivals reached 85,903, marking a year-on-year growth of 1.5 percent. MAY 2014
Nicosia Supports Earth Hour
Nicosia Municipality continued its support of the global Earth Hour campaign again this year, with the event taking place in the Cypriot capital on March 29. Lights at Nicosia’s city hall were switched off for one hour, between 20:30 – 21:30, while the city walls and the old town’s bastions were also plunged into darkness for the designated time period. Residents were also encouraged to turn out lights at their own houses for an hour on that date. The initiative aimed to highlight that the excessive use of electricity and energy sources results in the greenhouse effect and climate change.
Balanced Development Needed in Old Town
Famagusta Gate, Old Town, Nicosia
According to a recent announcement Nicosia Municipality believes that all citizens are entitled to enjoy the walled city, its historical monuments, and religious and public areas, however everyone should be conscious of their responsibility in respecting these zones. The council identified that existing issues are a result of the lack of an integrated development plan for the area – an arrangement that combines growth factors, a mobility project with the necessary traffic regulations, a parking policy, and the upgrade of public spaces and key locations. The authority also announced intentions to implement a plan for Nicosia’s city centre. The initiative aims to improve the quality of life in the capital by providing new residential areas, places of moderate use and commercial hotspots.
‘Let’s Do it Cyprus’ Cleans up the Capital The environmental campaign ‘Clean Cyprus in One Day – Let’s Do it Cyprus’ was held on April 6 as part of the global ‘Let’s Do it World’ project, which involved more than 100 countries, and aimed to clean nature sites. As part of the initiative, Nicosia Municipality put together a cleaning team in the old town. The first edition of ‘Let’s Do it Cyprus’ was successfully organised on the island in September 2012, with about 4,000 volunteers collecting more than 20 tonnes of garbage.
Visa on Arrival to the UAE
Citizens of 13 European Union (EU) member states including Cyprus, can now obtain visas on arrival into the UAE. Under the new rules approved by the EU cabinet, visitors from Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, no longer require a pre-entry visa, meaning that nationals of all 28 EU countries now enjoy visa-free entry into the Middle Eastern country. Dubai’s top visitor source markets in 2013 included five EU states which were already exempt from requiring pre-arrival visas, including the UK, Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands. The cabinet’s decision is set to further boost arrivals from Europe as H.E. Helal Saeed Almarri, director general, Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, pinpointed. “European countries have traditionally featured prominently in our top 20 source markets for visitors, and the lifting of visa restrictions provides for easier travel arrangements from across the continent,” added Almarri.
Outbound Travel Surges During February, 70,209 residents of Cyprus returned from a trip abroad compared to 60,076 in the corresponding month in 2013, recording a surge of 16.9 percent. One third of travellers visited Greece with figures jumping from 18,999 in February 2013, to 23,465, marking a 23.5 percent rise. The UK witnessed a 13.8 percent growth as numbers escalated from 16.292 in 2013 to 18,547, while Israel recorded a 44 percent increase. The most active age group was the 25-44 segment, accounting for 47.8 percent of trips. Travels for leisure amounted to 64.6 percent, while 25.7 percent represented the business sector.
Polis Getting Ready for Summer In preparation for the upcoming high season, the municipality of Polis Chrysochous, in collaboration with various agencies and organised groups, held a campaign encouraging local citizens to engage in a massive clean up operation, showing sensitivity and environmental consciousness. Angelos Odysseos, mayor, Polis Chrysochous, commented that rubbish free surroundings can greatly enhance the municipality’s efforts to promote tourism development, as well as the growth of the coastal region.
Thomson Cruises Kicks off New Season Thomson Cruises started the season with Thomson Spirit sailing out from Limassol on April 2. While traditionally the ship was filled with British tourists, since partnering with Century Travel in 2008, Cypriots now represent up to 10 percent of passengers.
“We are seeing more people than ever before take advantage of the fantastic value of sailing from Limassol with Thomson Cruises,” noted Vicky Lewis, director of operations, Century Travel, stating that the number of repeat passengers is unmatched by any other cruise line. “Thomson Cruises is responding to this by offering new and varied itineraries. [These] include the Greek islands, Turkey and Israel,” added Lewis. Thomson Spirit will return to Limassol in October for two sailings and then again in April 2015.
Following the challenges faced by the economic crisis, ensuring the cleanliness of the environment can create a new competitive advantage, Odysseos added. “Our obligation and duty is to all care and contribute on a daily basis to keep our town clean. We, on our side as the city council and municipal services, recognise our share of the responsibility and we are going to continue making every effort in this direction,” he said.
Research Company Predicts Cyprus’ Tourism Future Research and Markets, a company dedicated to providing international market research and data, has published a paper entitled Travel and Tourism to Cyprus in 2018. The document aims to provide a detailed analysis of the entire Cypriot travel and tourism sector. Readers of the report can find information regarding past tourist statistics from 2009–2013, as well as forecast figures for 2014–2018. Thorough examinations of tourist spending patterns on the island across various segments of the industry such as accommodation, sightseeing and entertainment, food service, transportation and retail are also featured, along with a comprehensive study of both previous and predicted trends in the airline, hotel, car rental and travel intermediaries industries. The company suggests that the paper aims to help interested parties take strategic business decisions using historic and forecast market data related to the Cypriot tourism sector.
New Outlets Join Kings Avenue Mall Kings Avenue Mall, the new concept retail and entertainment complex located in the heart of central Paphos, has welcomed the introduction of a number of new fashion, commerce and food and beverage outlets. The additional brands which have now joined the facility’s offering include sports-centric Intersport, clothing and accessories shops Guess, U.S. Polo, Ramazotti Bags & Accessories, LC leather & Fur and Camel, as well as fast food provider, Burger King. “Since the opening of Kings Avenue Mall in November 2013 until this day, we have had 1.4 million visitors. These are phenomenal numbers considering the population of Paphos. [...] We are expecting hundreds of thousands of tourists to visit from April until October, during this summer season,” commented Pauline Klimentos Gabriel, marketing manager, Kings Avenue Mall.
Kings Avenue Mall
NET welcomes Schengen Visa Initiative The Network for the European Private Sector in Tourism (NET) has responded positively to the European Commission’s proposed measures to simplify Schengen Visa processing by improving application proceedings, facilitating repeat travel and allowing stays longer than 90 days. Kent Nyström, CEO, European Trade Association of Hotels, Restaurants and Cafés, described the move as an important step forward in the direction of keeping Europe a leading global destination. “Measures that facilitate the entrance of tourists into the European Union, while keeping the necessary security safeguards are essential in order to promote tourist arrivals in Europe, generate growth and create new jobs across Europe,” stressed Nyström. According to Patrick Richards, chairman, European Tourism Association, partnering with source markets from emerging countries to create a transparent and efficient visa environment on the continent is vital.
Innovative Recycling Programme in Paphos A new environmental policy is being promoted by the Cyprus Hotel Association (CHA) in Paphos, aiming to provide information regarding environmentally correct waste management systems on behalf of the region’s hotels. This marks the first time in Cyprus that an initiative, where waste from hotel units will be recycled to minimise the negative effects on the envi-
Cyprus’ Golf Credentials Highlighted
Participants of the Initiative
Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) welcomed a crew from Golf Channel TV, who visited the island from Central Europe to produce a promotional programme aimed at showcasing Cyprus as a premier golf destination. The initiative was also supported by the golf courses of Aphrodite Hills, Elèa Estate, Minthis Hills and Secret Valley and a number of hotels, including InterContinental Aphrodite Hills Resort and Alexander The Great Beach Hotel. Following the trip, Cyprus will be showcased as an appealing choice in five different programmes in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia. The TV shows will also highlight the island’s attractions, national beauty and Cypriot hospitality.
ronment, is being attempted. According to the policy, in order for the plan to be successful, staff training is required to educate employees in the separation of waste material. Themis Philippides, chairman, Paphos district committee, CHA, stressed that once it is implemented, it will benefit the hotel industry as well as the environment and the wider society in Paphos.
Limassol Invests in Tourist Product Upgrades
PCCI Holds Seminar for SMEs
Paphos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) held a seminar focusing on making access to financing easier for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), organisations and institutions in Cyprus. Kendeas Zampyrinis, director, PCCI, said that through the initiative, participants were informed about the different opportunities and various ways that people can gain grants for the support, development and promotion of entrepreneurship through programmes co-financed by European Union funds.
As part of its efforts to continuously improve the tourism product of the city, Limassol Tourism Board has upgraded the infrastructure at bus stops at seven points along the city’s coastal road, in order to better serve both locals and international tourists visiting the area. The new bus stops have a more modern design and feature a canopy for protection from weather conditions. Additional elements comprise seats and lighting, while the stops also provide information on further urban transport options including services to and from Larnaka International Airport. The seven bus stops are located in populous areas of the coastal road, and are in close proximity to a large number of hotel and resort units. It is expected that in the future, current efforts will be extended to take in additional points along Limassol’s promenade, further contributing to the improvement of the town’s tourism offering.
These financial aid prospects aim to contribute to the upgrading and development of enterprises, organisations and other entities, said Zampyrinis. He went on to thank the Human Resource Development Authority of Cyprus (HRDA) for its support and contribution in training, and the subsequent development of the economy.
Larnaca Remembers World Wetlands Day Larnaka Municipality, in collaboration with the environment department of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, organised an event to mark World Wetlands Day, on February 3, at the Hala Sultan Tekke picnic site. The celebration included informing primary school students about the ecological importance of Larnaca’s salt lake and the risks of polluting it. The significance of birdwatching in the area was also touched upon at the event. The relevant information sessions were presented by officers of the department of environmental management of the municipality, representatives of the ministry and the national game service.
Students Learn about Wetlands Day
Gala Event in Marseille
MSC Cruises Honours Top Kinisis Travel
Top Kinisis Travel has added yet another accolade to its ever-growing list of honours after being recognised as one of MSC Cruises’ most prestigious and distinctive partners. The sales representative of MSC Cruises in Greece and Cyprus, received the award at a special event held aboard luxury cruise ship, MSC Splendida, in Marseille, France. The celebration was attended by 1,500 travel agents and representatives from all over the world. MSC Cruises’ fleet currently consists of 12 new generation cruise ships and the company will soon, for the first time, start operating from Pireus Athens port, offering passengers memorable experiences on board MSC Fantasia.
Louis Renews Contract with Thomson Cruises Louis has confirmed the extension of the charter of two of its cruise vessels, namely Thomson Majesty and Thomson Spirit to Thomson Cruises, part of TUI Travel. In terms of the new agreement, the two ships, which had previously been chartered to Thomson Cruises until the end of the current year, will be deployed by the UK-headquartered company until November 2017. The chartering of Louis vessels to Thomson Cruises dates back to 1996 and this extension demonstrates the long-standing, strategic and successful relationship between the two companies. This latest deal is a further confirmation of the high level of trust that TUI Travel places in Louis.
Limassol Marina Releases 14 Apartments
Producers and the Host
Following another year of successful sales, the launch of Dioni Residences at Limassol Marina comes just a few months ahead of the official opening of the fitness centre, spa, shopping and dining areas at the seafront destination. Set in the heart of the development, overlooking the main square, the new one-, two- and three-bedroom homes are just moments from the city centre, and boast uninterrupted views of the Mediterranean Sea. Residents will benefit from a communal swimming pool and underground parking. “The 14 residences at Dioni offer an edge and convenience […]. Overlooking the square, they have the option of privacy, with the buzz of the marina unfolding beneath them,” said Michalis Hadjipanayiotou, CEO, Cybarco Development, managers of the project and sales, revealing that sales at the marina have already reached an excess of EUR120 million.
Ryanair Connects Paphos and Athens
Ryanair has opened its third Greek hub in Athens, operating with two aircraft to six destinations, including a service to Paphos. The new routes include flights to Chania, London, Milan, Rhodes and Thessaloniki, and are set to transport over 1.2 million passengers per annum, and sustain more than 1,200 jobs at the airport, Peter Bellew, head of sales and marketing, Ryanair, explained. “Only Ryanair, with its 175 new aircraft order, can deliver the capacity, new markets and low costs demanded by Greek consumers and visitors, [we] look forward to working with Athens International Airport to unlock its vast potential,” added Bellew, revealing that the carrier will launch a dedicated Greek website. With the addition of the new routes, Ryanair offers Cypriot passengers a choice of 10 destinations this summer.
Transaero to Offer Record Routes to Cyprus This year Transaero Airlines is to offer its broadest summer flight schedule which will include nearly 200 domestic and international routes, while flights to Cyprus will be operated from more than 15 different Russian cities. Transaero Airlines’ services to Paphos will originate from Vnukovo International Airport, Moscow and are set to feature the carrier’s Imperial Class option. Larnaca will receive the majority of operations with Transaero Airlines’ aircraft landing from Vnukovo International Airport and Sheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow, as well as from a number of other destinations across Russia, such as St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Kazan, Rostov-on-Don, Ufa, Ekaterinburg, Kaliningrad, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Omsk, Perm, Samara, Surgut, Tomsk, Tyumen and Chelyabinsk. In the coming season the airline will continue to expand its Transaero Connect services providing high speed onboard broadband Internet access and mobile connection on its Boeing 777-300, Boeing 737NG, and Boeing 747-400 aircraft.
Wizz Air Links Larnaca and Vilnius
Blue Air Introduces New Livery Romanian airline, Blue Air has further expanded its fleet with the addition of a Boeing 737-400. The aircraft offers capacity for 170 passengers and boasts a modern interior with leather seats, while on the outside, it displays the low-cost carrier’s newly unveiled livery, created and executed by Ciprian Ciuclea, art director, Blue Air, and painted by Blue Air Maintenance and Repair Organization. Since the acquisition of the airline by Blue Air – Airline Management Solutions Company, a number of initiatives have been implemented in order to further improve and diversify the services. The new livery, which marks the latest step in these endeavours, will be applied on all aircraft, including those flying to Cyprus. Blue Air, represented in Cyprus by Orthodoxou Aviation, currently operates five weekly services between Larnaca and Bucharest.
Wizz Air is to connect Cyprus to yet another country, with direct flights between Larnaca and Vilnius scheduled to commence on June 22. Upon launching, Cyprus will become the carrier’s 12th country served from the Lithuanian capital. “Larnaca is now accessible on our low fares from Vilnius and we hope that this route will be just as popular as the other 16 in the Lithuanian network,” commented Daniel de Carvalho, corporate communications manager, Wizz Air. ”We hope that Vilnius will benefit from the inflow of tourists from Cyprus which could stimulate job creation in tourism and hospitality sectors. On the other hand we are also confident that Lithuanian consumers will appreciate visiting the beautiful seaside resorts of Larnaca.”
Wizz Air Halts Larnaca – Donetsk Flights
Ryanair has extended its offerings to Cyprus on its official website, enabling passengers travelling together and businesses to take advantage of lowest fare group rates. Ryanair’s groups offering is expected to be of significant interest to many schools, sports clubs and other large party organisers. According to Lesley Kane, head of corporate travel and groups, Ryanair, this is set to be an exciting year for Cypriot customers as the new offerings will significantly lower travel costs. “Ryanair is continually improving our customer service and we received numerous requests from group organisers and corporate businesses to develop and launch these new exciting products. Cyprus groups and business customers can look forward to the added benefits of our tailored products,” added Kane.
In response to the changing travel demands in Ukraine, Wizz Air Ukraine has cut fares and adjusted capacity on its network. As of April 30, the low-cost carrier temporarily suspended operations on a number of routes to and from Donetsk, including on the Donestsk – Larnaca service, which commenced just a month earlier on March 30. The decision, however, will not affect the planned Larnaca – Kiev flight, which will go ahead as scheduled with the inaugural service taking off on May 1. Reinforcing the airline’s commitment to Ukraine, Akos Bus, director general, Wizz Air Ukraine, said, “We are here for the long run. Nevertheless we continuously monitor travel demand and effects on travel behaviour to best meet the needs of our customers through low ticket fares and great services as well as capacity planning, adequate to the market. The measures we have just announced are temporary. We aim to restore our original growth plan as soon as possible.”
AEGEAN Airlines Adds Over 1.1 Million Seats
AEGEAN Airlines Cabin
Ryanair Rolls out Groups Services
Following the acquisition of Olympic Air, AEGEAN Airlines has embarked on a new era which is set to significantly enhance the Greek tourism industry. As part of its growth strategy for the current year, the carrier will offer 13 million seats, 1,150,000 more than in 2013, while its operations will be enforced with five Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft, bringing its total fleet to 50 aircraft deployed on some 100,000 flights per year. With the addition of a new base in Chania, the airline will now operate from a total of eight Greek locations. Denmark, Jordan, Lebanon, Sweden and the UAE are also being introduced to the network, offering access to 14 new key cities.
British Airways Relaunches Paphos – Gatwick Route
British Airways (BA) has announced the resumption of its direct services between Pafos International Airport and London Gatwick Airport. Deploying an Airbus A319 aircraft, the flight is operating five times a week, and runs in addition to services to London Heathrow Airport and London Gatwick Airport from Larnaca. “Flyers from Paphos can now take full advantage of two-way connectivity to other destinations in the BA network via both the Gatwick and Heathrow airport hubs. We expect to see a great number of holidaymakers make the most of the route, also proving ideal for friend, family and business visits,” said Freddie Stier, commercial manager, Cyprus and Greece, BA.
Wizz Air Opens New Base in Riga Wizz Air continues its expansion strategy with the upcoming launch of its base in Riga. Effective from June 19, the low-cost carrier will initially operate four new routes from the Latvian capital to Barcelona, Doncaster Sheffield, Dortmund, and Paris Beauvais, while London Luton and Oslo Torp will witness further increases in frequencies. With the addition of the new destinations, Wizz Air will offer 25 weekly flights on eight routes from Riga. Jozsef Varadi, CEO, Wizz Air, commented, “The new Riga base will not only bring significant capital investment, but also create a number of local jobs with Wizz Air and our local business partners.”
Air Serbia Boosts Larnaca Services Air Serbia has increased the frequency on its Belgrade – Larnaca route from three weekly flights to daily services. During the summer season, Serbia’s national carrier is set to operate every day of the week to the coastal city, in a bid to offer travellers greater flexibility up until October 25. Flights will depart from Belgrade at 0:05 arriving in Larnaca at 3:30, with return services leaving the Cypriot city at 4:10 and arriving in the Serbian capital at 5:50. As part of its development strategy, the airline has recently replaced its previously deployed Boeing 737-300 aircraft on the route with an Airbus 320, ensuring comfort and convenience between the Balkan city and Larnaca.
Cyprus Airways Sells Heathrow Time Slot
easyJet holidays Extends Reach
Cyprus Airways has reached an agreement with Middle East Airlines for the sale of the Cypriot carrier’s evening time slot at London’s Heathrow Airport valued at EUR6.3 million. According to an announcement released by Cyprus Airways, the deal forms part of the airline’s current restructuring plan which has been submitted to the European Commission. As a result of the arrangement with the Lebanese carrier, Cyprus Airways will now operate daily services to the UK hub, departing from Larnaka International Airport at 10:00 and landing in London at 13:05 local time. The return flight is at 14:25 and arrives in the coastal city at 21:00 local time.
In line with its endeavours to become a major pan-European tour operator, easyJet holidays has entered into a partnership with online travel agency, Hotelopia, part of TUI Travel. Under the terms of the deal, Hotelopia will provide an extensive portfolio of hotels across the seven countries where easyJet holidays is operating, while the tour operator will continue to offer flexible options across the airline’s extensive network including city breaks, beach and ski holidays, and a brand new range of activity holidays. As easyJet holidays re-launches itself across the main European countries where the airline has a large presence, six new websites are planned in Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Spain, France and the Netherlands, opening the company’s services up to 100 million people across the continent.
Cyprus to Strengthen Air Links with Qatar
A cooperation agreement has been signed between the aeronautical authorities of Cyprus and Qatar which led to the introduction of four weekly flights between Doha and Larnaca which started at the end of April. Under the new deal, Cyprus granted Qatar fifth freedom rights, with the permission to carry passengers from the island to another destination with an airline that belongs to a third country, in this case Qatar Airways. It has also been agreed that Cyprus Airways and the Middle Eastern carrier are to move ahead with codesharing, in a bid that will enable the Cypriot national airline to be virtually promoted to destinations in the Far East, China, Japan, Thailand and Australia, where Qatar Airways operates to.
Cyprus Present at Food Expo in Greece The Cyprus Ministry of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism, in cooperation with the Cypriot embassy in Athens, participated in the first international food and drink exhibition FOOD EXPO, held between March 15 – 17 at the METROPOLITAN EXPO exhibition centre in the Greek capital. In a bid to promote local food exports to the neighbouring Mediterranean country, the Cypriot involvement aimed to boost the island’s image in the areas of foreign trade, and strengthen business relations between the two destinations. At the Cyprus stand, interested entrepreneurs and consumers were provided with information regarding the island’s potential for export. Visitors were also given interesting facts on traditional Cypriot products such as halloumi, commandaria and zivania, through the distribution of informative material.
Strovolos Holds Tennis Tournament Under the framework of promoting large-scale sporting events, Strovolos Municipality recently organised a local tennis tournament for residents of the area, in collaboration with its open school and youth council. The league, which has now become an annual event on the town’s calendar, took place between March 25 – April 13, at the four upgraded tennis courts which the municipality owns. The first and second winners in each category were awarded trophies to acknowledge their success in the tournament.
Cyprus Participates in Marine Environment Conference Nicos Kouyialis, minister of agriculture and natural resources, Cyprus, represented the country at a conference, held under the theme ‘Healthy Oceans – Productive Ecosysytems: A European Conference for the Marine Environment’, in Brussels. In a speech made at the event, Kouyialis highlighted the importance of the Mediterranean for the economic and social well-being of the countries in the region, and noted that Cyprus is committed to initiatives aimed at regional cooperation in the field of the protection of the sea. As the minister explained, the island is very close to the conclusion of a very specific and detailed action plan deal with Israel. “We aspire to conclude similar agreements with all the countries bordering Cyprus' exclusive economic zone and engaged in hydrocarbon field,” reiterated Kouyialis, adding that the country aspires to become a regional cooperation link between destinations such as Greece, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Israel, with a view to protecting the marine environment.
EVENTS Fashion Show Regatta Paphos Harbour, Paphos, May 2 – 3, 2014 (www.fashionregatta.com) One of the highlights of the cultural life of the island which is expected to attract thousands of spectators. Street Life Festival Saripolou and Athinon Street, Limassol, May 3, 2014 Hailed as the biggest event in the streets of the city centre of Limassol, the seventh edition of the festival will present various activities from music and graffiti to handicrafts and foods and drinks. Made in Cyprus Filoxenia Conference Center, Nicosia, May 9 – 11, 2014 (www.wtccy.org) Visitors will have first-hand experience of the Cypriot culture and the wide range of products and service available locally, allowing them to explore new business opportunities. Traditional sweets, wines, olive oil products, arts and crafts will be presented, while educational institutes, property developers, lawyers, health service providers and last but not least, tourist organisations will also highlight their new offerings. 3rd International Pafos Children’s Festival The International School of Paphos, May 10, 2014 (www.cyp-rus.org) Organised by the Cyprus Russian Association of Pafos with the support of The International School, Paphos Municipality and Paphos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the festival will host an art and photo exhibition, themes ‘The Magic World of Nature’, and literature contest, an award ceremony and a gala concert.
FIVB U21 Beach Volleyball World Championships Finikoudes Beach, Larnaca, July 23 – 27, 2014 (www.larnakabeachvolley.com) One of the top beach volleyball events in the world, organised by International Volleyball Federation.
FTCIA: Six Increase in Months RevenueLater at Thalassa Museum
CHA Salutes Deal with Qatar Cyprus Hotel Association (CHA) has expressed satisfaction over the signing of the agreement between Cyprus and Qatar which is set to enhance aviation opportunities to and from the island, as well as strengthen links with third countries by liberalising further air connections. CHA deems that the deal is an important and essential step in the desired direction towards attracting additional visitor arrivals to the island. It is hoped that this decision will also help in contributing to the extension of the tourist season, and subsequently in curtailing the problem of seasonality, as well as job retention within the sector. Due to the socio-economic benefits that the success of this policy could bring to the country, this latest agreement, as well as other similar arrangements achieved with Russia, Ukraine and Israel, and predicted deals expected to be signed in the future with new markets, act as catalysts to improve and enhance accessibility to Cyprus on a year-round basis.
Thalassa Museum in Ayia Napa has announced that its annual revenue for 2013 witnessed growth of 30 percent, mainly due to higher visitation figures of around 45 percent. The municipality estimates that determining factors that contributed to this significant achievement include agreements drawn up between Ayia Napa and several tour operators and agencies, the reduction of the annual sponsorship to Pierides Foundation – the operator of the museum – by 20 percent, and electricity savings of around 30 percent. Consequently the council of the coastal resort town has opted to reduce its financial support to the museum by 21 percent, from EUR246,000 in 2012 to EUR194,000 in 2013. With regards to this year, the municipality is in consultation with various tourism organisations to attract even more tourists to the facility.
Leptos Celebrates Iranian New Year
In a move intended to show thoughtfulness and to forge stronger professional and social relationships, Leptos Estates invited its Iranian clients and business partners to Coral Beach Hotels & Resort in Paphos to celebrate Nowruz, marking the beginning of the Iranian new year. Nowrouz, which means ‘New Day’, traditionally coincides with the astronomical beginning of the spring, and Iranian nationals consider this day to be one of the biggest celebrations on their annual calendar. In his welcome speech addressing the attendees at the special event, Pantelis Leptos, director, Leptos Estates, expressed his belief that the Middle Eastern country will soon play a key role on the global stage, as its economy continues to grow allowing its people to look at property investment opportunities abroad. “We know that Paphos and Leptos are on top of your list this is why this market is being boosted by investors and property buyers from Middle East and the Gulf states,” added Leptos.
New Rules on Package Travel Across EU The European Parliament has voted in favour of the European Commission’s proposal to modernise the European Union (EU)’s rules on package holidays.
ithin the new framework, the Package Travel Directive will enter the digital age and better protect 120 million consumers who buy customised travel arrangements, especially online , and are not covered under current EU rules. The reform will bolster protection for tourists by increasing transparency about the kind of travel product they are buying and by strengthening their rights in case something goes wrong. Businesses will also benefit as the new directive will scrap outdated information requirements such as the need to reprint brochures and will make sure that national insolvency protection schemes are recognised across borders. A main change supported by the European Parliament’s report is that member states are allowed to make package travel retailers liable if something goes wrong during the package holiday, in addition to the organiser of the package.
Greece Increases Its UAE Appeal A delegation representing luxury travel in Greece visited Dubai for what was the first Deluxe Greek Travel Roadshow to have been held in the Middle East. Presenting the destination to more than 100 UAE travel agents, the event was held under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Tourism and was officially opened by Dionyssios Zois, Greek ambassador to the UAE. “Since 2011 Greece has been playing a protagonist and actively supportive role in all relevant European Union institutions for the lifting of the Schengen visa for the UAE citizens. We are happy and proud that Greece took the first initiative to support this just cause, and will be more than happy to see it fulfilled during our EU presidency [this year],” Zois commented.
Cyprus and Seychelles to Cooperate Cyprus and the Seychelles signed a cooperation protocol during the third meeting of the joint intergovernmental commission for economic, scientific, technical and industrial cooperation held recently in the Indian Ocean destination. The agreement was signed by George Georgiou, director general, Directorate General for European Programmes, Coordination and Development, and Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, principal
secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Seychelles, and aims to further strengthen and develop cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, energy, tourism, and health between the two nations. The intergovernmental committee also studied ways in which the existing bonds between Cyprus and the Seychelles could be promoted and reinforced in various areas of common interest.
European Passenger Traffic on the Rise Passenger traffic at Europe’s 187 airports showed a 6.3 percent year-on-year increase in January. Based on Airport Council International Europe’s (ACI EUROPE) statistics, the European Union (EU) member states reported a 4.6 percent surge, proving that the markets most affected by the crises are now back in growth mode. Meanwhile, traffic at non-EU hubs rose 11.8
percent, driven by dynamic improvements in Russia, Turkey, Iceland and Israel. Consequently, aircraft movements for the continent climbed 2.9 percent, and freight volumes jumped nine percent. According to Olivier Jankovec, director general, ACI EUROPE, the results suggest a positive start to the year with 80 percent of Europe’s airports
witnessing an increase in passenger traffic, the best overall performance in more than two years. “Freight volumes are now more than three percent above their 2011 levels, which also confirms a renewed market dynamic. The fact that airlines are cautiously adding more capacity should help sustain further growth in air traffic in the coming months,” added Jankovec.
Q & A with Doros Theodorou Online reputation management is part of running a business, says Doros Theodorou, commercial director, Europe, Middle East and Africa, TripAdvisor, who advocates that the travel website can help businesses capitalise on their good reviews, and promote aspects of their property that make it unique.
Travel Trade Cyprus: What can TripAdvisor offer to hoteliers, and what features are beneficial to the local industry? Doros Theodorou: We encourage all hospitality business owners to register on TripAdvisor for free so that they can manage their property’s listing on the site making use of our free tools and resources. Once registered, owners can log in to the Management Centre for their property and sign-up for notification emails for each time they receive a new review, they can access data about each review of their property, with feedback about their level of service, cleanliness, value, etc. We also offer business owners a suite of widgets and badges, which they can add to their own websites or Facebook pages, displaying their TripAdvisor ratings, recent reviews and any TripAdvisor awards they have won. Owners will also find review collection services in the Management Centre, such as Review Express, a service which enables them to encourage their recent customers to write a review, driving awareness for their business on TripAdvisor and thereby enhancing their profile on the site. One of the most important tools in the Management Centre is the ability to respond to reviews. According to a recent PhoCusWright study, over half (57 percent) of respondents agreed that seeing a hotel management response to a review generally made them more likely to book that hotel, versus a comparable hotel that did not respond to travellers. And an overwhelming 84 percent of users agree that an appropriate management response to a bad review improves their impression of the hotel. TripAdvisor products like Business Listings and TripConnect also help businesses to capitalise on their good reviews on TripAdvisor and drive more direct bookings. Travel Trade Cyprus: How has the local hospitality industry’s interest developed in the past years regarding TripAdvisor services? Doros Theodorou: In this day and age, it is essential for hospitality businesses to monitor what is said about their property online, to listen to the feedback and to respond where possible. With the rise of user-generated content and the tendency towards researching and booking holidays online, consumers expect the most accurate and up-to-date information.
Online reputation management is now part and parcel of running a business – it is not something owners can ignore. With 260 million unique monthly visitors from around the world, TripAdvisor provides a phenomenal marketing platform for the hospitality industry. Since 2010, when we first launched TripAdvisor for Business, thousands of hospitality business-
Doros Theodorou Commercial director, Europe, Middle East and Africa, TripAdvisor
which means that the majority of reviews on TripAdvisor are positive. If we look just solely at accommodation properties in Cyprus, the average review rating is 3.88. Although this is slightly lower than the average review rating for all property types, it is still relatively high – approaching four out of a possible five. Having recently presented at the annual general meeting for the Cyprus Hotel Association, it is clear that the hotel industry in Cyprus understands the value that TripAdvisor can bring to their businesses. There is an opportunity here to leverage the services and products that TripAdvisor offers – listen to the feedback you receive from reviews, take steps to address travellers’ concerns and respond to their reviews, and make changes to your business where it makes sense. Encourage more reviews, promote the aspects of your property that make it unique via a Special Offer. In short, engage in the TripAdvisor platform – you will attract more guests, more reviews and you will improve your online reputation. Travel Trade Cyprus: According to the survey commissioned by TripAdvisor, more than half of global respondents do not make a booking until they read reviews. Has the Cypriot hotel sector realised this?
es have been taking advantage of the free services TripAdvisor offers, from our review and rating widgets, notification tools, Review Express and the Management Response tool. Business Listings, which enables accommodations to list their contact details on their TripAdvisor property page and post customisable special offers has also been well received. There are now over 69,000 Business Listings subscribers globally. As TripAdvisor continues to innovate and launch new products, hospitality businesses are able to benefit from their presence on the site and make use of the platform to reach new audiences. Travel Trade Cyprus: How can Cypriot hotels improve their image through reviews and how can they counterbalance negative reviews? Doros Theodorou: The average review rating for all properties on TripAdvisor is 4.12, as of December 2013,
Doros Theodorou: There is no question that today’s traveller is more informed – the growing sophistication of travel marketing created more sophisticated travel consumers who cut through the hype and seek out independent opinions and reviews. In planning for a holiday or a trip, 93 percent of travellers say that online reviews have an impact on their booking decision (TripBarometer, March 2013) and half of TripAdvisor users will not book a hotel that does not have reviews. Cyprus is clearly an established travel destination with a strong inbound tourism market. [...] The hotel sector in Cyprus, like anywhere else, should take advantage of free platforms like TripAdvisor to post photos, respond to reviews – good or critical – and engage with past and potential customers. Encourage feedback with services like Review Express. Go where your customers are talking about you and make sure your perspective is heard. Take the additional step of advertising with a Business Listing so your contact details are available and, with the new TripConnect functionality, display your direct rates and availability to people who are comparing prices on TripAdvisor, turning interested travellers into paying guests.
TRAVEL TALK MICHAEL KARASAVVAS
travel talk is your space
Honorary Consul of St.Vincent and the Grenadines, Cyprus.
“By the term ‘condominium’, we mean quality real estate property concerning luxury apartments, which will help develop growth in our tourism industry and, at the same time, upgrade our country. It is an excellent combination of a luxury hotel and an organised residence all in one. It is a particularly attractive product made for foreign investors with a high level of income. It features a luxury multi-storey building with excellent décor offering all the comforts of a high standard hotel, but in this case the users are permanent residents, who have bought the
apartment to enjoy every private moment as opposed to the hotel room which they will rent. This investment is already widely used abroad by high-prestige hotel chains such as Hilton Worldwide, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts as well as Hyatt Hotels & Resorts. Cyprus is a popular tourist destination and the implementation of this project will enrich and help the quality of tourist activity. In addition it is also expected that the coming years this will be an important part of our tourism industry as well as our economy as it will help diversify the Cypriot tourist product.”
Marketing and public relations executive, Limassol Marina.
Tourism consultant and training, Elpis Tourism & Hospitality Seminars.
“The producers of BalconyTV Cyprus are talented artists themselves, with a passion for music and a genuine desire to help promote local singer songwriters. To be able to offer this fantastic opportunity [with established artists performing on] the balcony of Limassol Marina is hugely gratifying. The atmosphere here is unrivalled. It represents everything that is fresh, ambitious and thriving about our local community. It reflects the very essence of BalconyTV and we are extremely proud to be involved.”
“It is obvious that [the Cypriot] tourist product needs upgrading, professional care and new innovations. [...] It is absolute necessity for those engaged in the tourist industry to be educated through appropriate training programmes so we can achieve our goals and everyone can get professionally certified. Those who offer services in the tourism industry should be able to pay attention to every detail because only then can we talk about quality. Improving quality is a high priority in order to have repeat visitors, increase arrivals and create growth, reduce unemployment.”
TRAVEL TALK IS YOUR SPACE – this is a casual forum for travel industry professionals to discuss current issues and share stories. We want to hear from you, so send your comments, questions, frustrations and observations to firstname.lastname@example.org MAY 2014
Q & A with Vaida Rickute Zening Resorts Elia Village Latchi is a new concept hotel that aims to provide a ‘soul’ vacation, with a strong commitment to sustainable tourism. Vaida Rickute, marketing director, Zening Resorts, elaborates on the new entry into Cyprus’ hospitality scene.
Travel Trade Cyprus: Please tell us a bit about the brand new concept introduced by Zening Resorts? How has it been developing in the last few months since the launch of the property? Vaida Rickute: First of all Zening Resorts Elia Village Latchi is perhaps the greenest beach resort in Cyprus. It is open and 100 percent functional. We have lush green gardens on 60ha of a hillside beachfront property. We have just planted over 5,000 flowers and herbs, we have started an organic garden to grow our own vegetables and we are planting dozens of fruit trees. [In 2013] we worked for four months and we are already seeing many of our guests come back. Most of our guests are women - nearly 75 percent - and they tend to be highly educated, sophisticated, environmentally conscious travellers who focus on health, beauty and harmony. We have all-day-long classes of yoga, pilates, zumba, meditation and even dance. There are art workshops, sculpture and organised eco-walks. We give free water and we have almost no plastic in the resort. It is a very serene place where Zening music plays all day and there are no TVs and no mobile phones. We do everything for health, beauty and harmony, so there is local wine and beer but no hard liquor. Food is healthy and nutritious - again, all locally sourced. No red meat. This is a no-smoking resort. The detox and yoga retreat are our best programmes and we have lot of bookings from the UK, Russia, Germany and Scandinavia. Travel Trade Cyprus: Nearing a year of operation, have you witnessed an upward trend in the number of visitors at the resort? Are you satisfied with the figures? Vaida Rickute: Bookings for [this year] are beyond all our expectations. There is tremendous interest from the media - we have been featured in leading newspapers and magazines and on the blogosphere. Word of mouth is spreading and we are getting a large number of bookings from yoga groups. We are really pleased and surprised. Travel Trade Cyprus: Which are your key feeder markets in terms of nationality? Are you targeting particular segments? What is the local commu-
nity’s reception towards the new concept that the resort puts forward? Vaida Rickute: First I should tell you about the local community. From the moment we have started this project the support from the local business community, mayors, leaders and individuals has been
Vaida Rickute Marketing director, Zening Resorts
Our main market is the UK which accounts for over 50 percent of our bookings. 75 percent of our guests are women and the rest are romantic couples. We have two surprising segments of tourists we did not expect - mothers and daughters and gay couples. We of course welcome everyone. Our guests tend to be 25 to 45 years old but then age is no barrier and we have youthful ladies in their 60s who come and spend many activity-filled weeks with us. 25 percent of the bookings are from Germany and Scandinavia, while the rest are from Russia, Israel and the Benelux states. We are targeting health-conscious tourists. We are exhibiting in health shows rather than travel expos. Our marketing channels are different from the traditional hotel sector. Travel Trade Cyprus: What are your plans for the remainder of the year in terms of facility upgrades, new product launches and future developments on the island?
just tremendous. Our guests regale stories of warm hospitality and genuine affection at tavernas and churches. There are dozens of stories I can tell about how warmly local people have received this project and our guests. This is one of the safest, most beautiful and most warm hearted places in Europe for a holiday. Our concept of a joyful, stress-free holiday is only possible because of very cheerful nature of the local people. They appreciate the fact that we are not a mass-tourism establishment and we are inclusive rather than all-inclusive. We promote local tavernas, bars, restaurants, excursions, water sports so our guests may enjoy the real Cyprus experience. The fact that we do not serve alcohol, or meat and have many early risers who start yoga at 05:00, people tend to go out a lot if they want to enjoy local hospitality. The local community has embraced us and they all feel that this is the right model of tourism for Cyprus.
Vaida Rickute: Our upgrades are complete for now. We are focussed on experience and service. We are continuing to expand our organic farm and herb garden. We would like to generate our own solar power so that we can lower our carbon footprint. I think it is a matter of government policy if we will be allowed to set up our own solar photovoltaic plant. We would like to have it as soon as possible. We want to launch a yoga teacher training project. We have plans to organise a film festival, a music festival and create a calendar of cultural events. We are nearing the completion of a church on the property - a Greek Orthodox chapel which is our gift to the local community and of course it can be a place for couples to tie knot since love is always in the air here at Zening. In addition, we are also expanding our library. We are now thinking of the future and how it is possible to accommodate families and children, and people who wish to stay for two-three months. Maybe we will take some more properties under lease or management. We will soon need another 300 rooms and we prefer to work with local businesses, invest in their properties so that guests of the whole area can use our services and enjoy the Zening experience.