IACA welcomed the recent joint efforts of Eurocypria, Cyprus Airways, the Cyprus Tourist Organisation and the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism to improve tourist accessibility to Cyprus, but again warned that concrete actions are now urgently needed by the Government to correct the situation and boost tourism in Cyprus. IACA represents 34 leisure airlines and accounts for more then 25% of all traffic at Cypriot airports and 50% of traffic at Pafos.
Despite repeated warnings from IACA, Cyprus is now facing a severe downturn in tourism and a loss of competitive advantage compared to other leading tourist destinations. This is also exacerbated by the global economic climate and the weakening Sterling/Euro exchange rate, which has particularly affected the large UK travel market.
Luc Geens, Manager Operations, IACA said: “IACA, along with our member airlines, has been warning the Government for a long time that tourism will suffer if support is not offered to airlines.”
“The steep increase of more than 70 % in airport charges at Larnaca and Pafos and the unacceptable government concession fee of 33 % on airport revenues are examples of how Cyprus has become an unattractive place to do business for airlines. Other resorts in Egypt and Turkey, who reacted quickly to the current downturn in the tourist sector, are continuing to grow as holiday destinations.”
“To help the situation in Cyprus, we urge the Government and Hermes Airports Ltd to remove the detrimental increases in airport charges and the government concession fees, create more attractive incentive programmes for airlines, and improve tourist services and amenities in Cyprus. The Government and Hermes needs to make these changes quickly in order for Cyprus to become a more competitive market place for tourism. If not, the consequences could be severe for Cyprus and its economy.”