Lakkotrypis was speaking at the annual World Travel Market, taking place at London’s ExCel exhibition center, drawing tourism professionals from around the world.
Cyprus is represented at the three-day long event by dozens of co-exhibitors under the umbrella of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO).
On the first day of his official engagements, Lakkotrypis held a meeting with the Greek Minister for Tourism Elena Kountoura before greeting exhibitors from Cyprus.
He then held his first series of meetings with airlines and major tour operators to discuss possibilities for future cooperation.
More meetings with airlines and tour operators were scheduled for Tuesday, prior to the minister concluding his presence at the exhibition with a press conference.
Cyprus’ Tourism Minister, George Lakkotrypis
Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency, Lakkotrypis stressed the importance of the World Travel Market: “We all know the importance of tourist arrivals from the UK. They hold even more importance this year, in the light of the ongoing talks on Brexit and what will happen after March 2019.”
He added that he is holding a series of meetings with tour operators and airlines in order to listen to their views about 2019 onward.
“We also want to listen to any risks they might see and what we can all do together to alleviate any negative effect that Brexit might have on arrivals to our country from the UK,” said Lakkotrypis.
Asked to comment of this year’s performance in tourism and the outlook for 2019, he said: “2018 is shaping up to be another exceptional record year, during which we will touch the number of 4 million tourists, a number that a few years ago seemed like science fiction. It is even more important because 2018 was a year that all our competitors functioned at the highest possible degree, and that proves that Cyprus can stand competitively against these countries.”
“It is also significant that as of January 2, 2019, the Deputy Ministry of Tourism will begin its operation, having in its focus the application of the 2030 tourism strategy, which will help us proceed with qualitative upgrades of our touristic product, Lakkotrypis added.
Lakkotrypis also discussed tourism to Cyprus in interviews with Reuters and CNBC.
The Chairman of the CTO, Angelos Loizou, noted that Cyprus’s exhibiting spaces in this year’s World Travel Market have been revamped and that there has been a great interest shown in the country.
“‘There is interest by foreign journalists who want to learn about Cyprus, about our goals, our strategy, the sustainable growth that we are promoting,” Loizou told the Cyprus News Agency.
Loizou also admitted that Brexit is a cause of some concern: “We cannot make plans as we don’t currently know how Brexit will be delivered, whether it will be a hard or a soft Brexit. Whatever the case, however, in our discussions with tour operators and airlines we have said that we will cover any possible problems altogether.”