Written by Nayla Barakat
Manama, September 15 (BNA) A senior Cypriot official said that Cyprus and Bahrain should unite efforts to develop the tourism sectors in the two countries to keep pace with the changing dynamics of this vibrant sector in the post-pandemic era.
“The pandemic has necessitated a change in the approach to developing the tourism industry, and Cyprus and Bahrain must unite efforts to take advantage of the opportunities available in the post-pandemic era,” Sevas Perdios, Deputy Minister of Tourism of Cyprus, told the Bahrain News Agency. coffee beans).
The minister, who is in Bahrain within the framework of the Cypriot president’s official visit to the Kingdom, on Wednesday, conducted a media presentation and tourism operators in Manama to show the huge potential in the tourism sector and how to benefit from it.
Speaking about the main pillars of Cypriot tourism, he said that his country launched the national tourism strategy in January 2020, and that the pandemic did not change the visions and pillars.
“The only thing the pandemic has done is make us work harder to develop the strategy. That’s because the strategy has been thinking about a lot of things.
The vision is to become one of the top 30 competitive tourism destinations in the world by 2030.
“In 2020, we ranked 44th and there is work under the pipeline to do.
There are five pillars in the strategy, which are how to make Cyprus a year-round destination, how to turn it into a higher quality destination, how to make it a digitally smart destination and how to turn it into a climate friendly destination and a destination where all residents can benefit from tourism.”
“This means not only promoting the sun and the sea, as in the past, but also promoting rural villages in the mountainous regions.
This is our strategy, and the pandemic has really helped us work in a more results-oriented way and made us realize the need to make changes and improvements when needed.”
When asked why residents of Bahrain and the region choose Cyprus as their holiday destination, Perdios said that the geography and weather of both countries provide a real mix to promote two-way tourism.
“Summer is a great season to come to Cyprus, especially when it is very hot in Bahrain, and in Cyprus the temperature is 35 or 36 max.
The climate is reasonably mild and we have no humidity, so it is a great summer destination for people from Bahrain.
“Also, we have the cleanest water in Europe, and recently the European Environment Agency gave us an excellent score of 100 per cent, which means after testing 112 water sites – the beaches they found were absolutely clean.
Therefore, we got a score of 100 percent which is the best in Europe.
So, if someone wants to go somewhere with a nice climate to spend their summer holidays with fresh air, then Cyprus is the perfect choice.”
Speaking of civilization, he said that Cyprus is a place with a history of 11,000 years.
“It means we have a lot of cultural venues; the food is absolutely fantastic as well as the hospitality.
We have done a lot of work in the last 18 months to improve the villages and rural areas, and the people can really live the genuine hospitality there.
Other added value that is included in our product is outdoor activity, nature, hiking, biking, rock climbing, kite surfing… Lots of sports activities especially for the younger generation and we are adding this dimension to our product.”
“The important thing for us is the authentic experiences that are going to be launched next week; by experiments, we mean visiting someone’s house and seeing how they make halloumi cheese, some traditional meat that you can taste and buy, and we have a bunch of stuff going around that. We have improved a lot over the past 18 months, and I have to say the pandemic has focused everyone in that direction.”
With regard to international tourism trends, he believes that “a lot has been written and said in the past 18 months”, but believes that “we should be more targeted when talking about tourism trends”.
There are four things that have fundamentally changed; The first is the booking practices of the customer, and now, it’s basically digital where they book last minute on flexible terms, and they don’t want to book six months in advance because they don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.”
The second thing has to do with the events and conferences that are happening now with last minute changes.
“Right now, it’s hard to see something more personalized with highly dedicated teams, tour guides so that it’s something personal. The third thing we’re seeing is that the purpose of the holidays is changing.”
People like to have a deeper meaning behind their holidays and it’s not a light thing anymore.
People want to know their destination, if the people are tolerant, if the destination is respectful of the environment and local communities.
“All these expectations are huge, especially for the younger generation and this is what Cyprus is trying to highlight. We pay attention to our local communities.
Fourth, people want to see more of nature on their holidays, whether they see it through hiking or biking activities, holistic style living and wellness.
I think nature has become very important nowadays. We have all witnessed that nature is something that must be preserved in order to enhance the tourist experience rather than destroy it.”