Cyprus faces the risk of losing the Israeli market, the second largest tourist market for the country, if the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues into the new season, Deputy Minister of Tourism Kostas Koumis said on Wednesday, stressing that although the Deputy Ministry is already making contacts to mitigate the losses, it is a difficult task.

“Given everything that is taking place in Israel or in case the war does not end by the start of the next tourist season, we risk losing our second largest market,” Koumis said in response to questions from journalists after the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

He reiterated that the Israeli market “is very important for the country, having provided 368,0000 arrivals by the end of September, and it is a market with special characteristics, such as the short length of stay with an average of 4.7 days, a market that operates along the line of short breaks that Cyprus, as a tourist destination, has been seeking for years, and which, based on the data, can hardly be replaced by other markets.”

The Deputy Minister of Tourism clarified that he was not suggesting that there would be a loss of 400,000 arrivals, which is broadly the dynamic of this market, but it is a market with unique characteristics that has no equal.

Asked if there is a plan B, Koumis said that since July the Deputy Ministry has been holding meetings and negotiations with other markets with the aim of increasing the capacity of other markets. In this regard, he added that next Monday he is going to London and the WTM exhibition, where there will be several meetings with partners who are not only active in Great Britain but also in other countries.

Responding to a question about the markets which could help mitigate the situation, the Deputy Minister of Tourism said that Poland has so far recorded a great increase in tourist arrivals, as have many other countries, in particular, three of the four Scandinavian countries, Switzerland, France and other markets.

In addition, Koumis announced today the launch of a project for the upgrading of catering facilities and traditional food outlets, with a budget of €3.6 million supported by funds from the Recovery and Resilience Plan.

He also noted that beneficiaries are all leisure centres holding restaurant or tavern licences, unlike last year’s notice where only restaurants and taverns where the approved menu was based on Cypriot cuisine were beneficiaries.

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