Despite War, Cyprus Hopeful to Bridge Gap in Russian Tourism
The world is still faced with the Coronavirus, which continues to mutate for unknown reasons and continues wreaking havoc worldwide. Most countries are beginning to revive their devastated economies after the Covid-19 wave, which caused a recession in the tourism industry. Most of Cyprus’s tourists are Russians, and the country is hopeful that they can still fill the market in Russian tourism.
Cyprus established an economy that charmed Russian tourists, investors, and moguls for several years. However, due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis, everything becomes worse, Cyprus loses its Russians.
Russian Network Everywhere
They appear in Cyprus’s economic figures. Each year before the pandemic, Russian tourism brings a few hundred thousand Russian tourists visiting the country. Russian investors contribute to more than €100 billion in investments in 2020 alone. It’s roughly a portion of all foreign investments entering Cyprus.
On the other hand, other networks are more cultural. The Mediterranean island has functioned as a banking home for the backdoor fortunes of Russian investors. It includes arms dealers, gambling firms to pornographic websites. During the 1990s, post-Soviet personages, such as Slobodan Miloševic, traversed to the island, bringing suitcases filled with cash.
Untying the Knot
Cyprus has been trying to untie its knot with Russia for the past decades. Because Russia invades Ukraine, it has now more than one reason to do so.
Cyprus supported the bloc’s increasing sanctions against the invading country as a European Union member. At this time, officials knew that facilitation comes with negative consequences. The sanctions will damage some sections of the Cypriot economy, regardless if it’s already begun holding off from Russian money.
Banking is one area that will be greatly affected. Per bank officials, at least five individuals on the EU’s sanctions list own equities in Cypriot banks. Additionally, luxury real estate wherein dozens of high-end dwellings will possibly remain unsold. Lastly, the tourism industry will also become affected.
“The Cypriot economy is disproportionately affected compared to other countries due to the structure of the Cypriot economy and its reliance on Russian tourists. Based on our estimates, we expected to have one million tourists from Ukraine and Russia this year, some 20-25 per cent of the tourist market of Cyprus. The key is the duration of this crisis. If this ends in a month, we will come out unscathed. If it lasts more, no economy will manage to come out clean,” said Cypriot Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides.
Cyprus Remains Optimistic to Fill Market in Russian Tourism
The country remains optimistic that despite the Russia-Ukraine conflict, this year’s tourist arrivals could draw near with 2021. Cyprus’s publicity in other markets may take up part of the market, resulting in the Russian tourism market shortage.
“Our product is more durable, the perception of what Cyprus is has begun to change, we are bringing in tourists with a higher income level. We will do everything in our power to make things as good as possible under the circumstances,” said Cyprus’s Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios.
Plan to Replace Lost Tourism
Nicosia, Cyprus’s capital and the largest city, readies to fill lost tourism from the Ukrainian and Russian markets. Minister of Transportation, Communications and Works, Yiannis Karoussos, said they’re reaching out to other European and Middle Eastern markets. They seek to top-up for the anticipated loss in this year’s tourism. Cyprus expected that it would lose tourism for Russian and Ukrainian markets.
Possible Loss of Russian Tourism to Turkey
Russian tourists won’t go to Cyprus. They will go to Turkey, instead. The country accommodated 4.7 million Russian and 2 million Ukrainian travellers in 2021. Antalya is quite a favourite destination among Russian and Ukrainian tourists.
“Even if the war ends now and talks begin between the parties, we won’t have 9 million but at least 4 to 5 million Russians and Ukrainians this year,” said Firuz Bağlıkaya, the head of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB).
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