Bahrain, Cyprus can boost each other’s tourism potential

Manama, Cyprus and Bahrain should join forces to develop their tourism sectors to keep pace with the changing dynamics of this very vibrant sector in the post pandemic era, a senior Cypriot official has said.

“The pandemic has necessitated a change in the approach to develop the tourism industry, and Cyprus and Bahrain should join forces to tap into the opportunities of the post pandemic era,” Svvas Perdios, Deputy Minister of Tourism of Cyprus, told Bahrain News Agency (BNA).

The minister, who is in Bahrain as part of Cyprus President’s official visit to the Kingdom, conducted on Wednesday a presentation for media and tourist operators in Manama to show the huge potential in the tourism sector and how both countries should benefit from it.

Talking about the main pillars of the Cyprus tourism, he said his country had launched the national tourism strategy in January 2020, and the pandemic has not changed the visions and pillars.

“The only thing the pandemic has done is to make us work even harder to develop the strategy. It is because the strategy had in mind a lot of things.

The vision is to become one of the top 30 most competitive tourism destinations in the world by 2030,” he said.

“In 2020, we were ranked 44th and there is work under the pipeline that needs to be done.

There are five pillars in the strategy, namely how to make Cyprus a year-around destination, how to convert it into a higher quality destination, how to make it a digitally smart destination and how to transform 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 it had been in the past, but also promoting the rural villages in the mountain areas.

This is our strategy, and the pandemic has really helped us to work in a more result-oriented way and made us realise the need to bring changes and improvements where needed,” he said.

Asked why people of Bahrain and the region should pick Cyprus as a destination for their holidays, Perdios said that the geography and the weather in both countries offer a true blend to promote two-way tourism.

“Summer is a great season to come to Cyprus, especially when in Bahrain it’s really very hot and in Cyprus the temperature is a maximum of 35 or 36.

The climate is very reasonably temperate and we don't have humidity, so it's a great summer destination for people from Bahrain,” he said.

“Also, we have the cleanest water in Europe, and recently the European Environmental Agency awarded us with a perfect score of 100 per cent, which means after testing 112 water sites - the beaches they found were perfectly clean.

So, we got the score of 100 per cent the best in Europe.

So, if someone wants to go somewhere with nice climate to spend the summer holiday with clean air, Cyprus is the perfect choice.”

Talking about cvilisation, he said Cyprus is a place with a history of 11,000 years.

“This means we have a lot of cultural venues; the food is totally fantastic as well as the hospitality.

We have done a lot of work in the last 18 months to improve our villages and rural areas, and people can really live the authentic hospitality there.

The other added value being included in our product is the outdoor activity, nature, hiking, biking, rock climbing, kite surfing … a lot of the sports activities especially for the younger generation and we are adding that dimension to our product.”

“Something huge for us is the authentic experiences which are being launched next week; by experiences, we mean a visit to someone's house and see how they make Halloumi cheese, some traditional meat you can taste and buy, and we have a host of things revolving around this. So, we have improved a lot over the last 18 months, and I have to say that the pandemic has focused everybody on this direction,” he added.

On international tourism trends, he believed that “a lot has been written and said in the last 18 months,” but he thinks “we should be bit more targeted when talking about the tourism trends.”

“There are mainly four things that have changed; one is the booking practices the customer, Now, it is mainly digital as they book last minute in flexible terms, and they don't want to book six months in advance considering they don’t know what's going to happen tomorrow,” he said.

The second thing has to do with events and conferences that are now happening with very last-minute changes.

“At present, it's difficult to see something more personalized with very dedicated teams, tour guides; so that it's something personal. The third thing we see is that the purpose of holidays is changing.”

People like to have a deeper meaning behind their holidays and it is not something light anymore.

People want to know about their destination, if people are tolerant, if the destination respects the environment and the local communities.

“These all expectations are huge, especially for the younger generation and this is what Cyprus is trying to highlight. We are paying attention to our local communities,” he said.

“Fourthly, people want to see more nature in their holidays, whether they see it through hiking or biking activities, holistic style living and wellness.

I think nature is becoming very important nowadays. We all have witnessed that nature is something that needs to be kept in order to enhance the tourism experience and not destroy it.”

Source: Bahrain News Agency