Destination trends

Cyprus launches new strategy to win more German tourists

Ayia Napa is one of the most popular beach resorts on Cyprus.
Ayia Napa is one of the most popular beach resorts on Cyprus.

Cyprus is aiming to attract more German holidaymakers by extending its tourism portfolio but a shortage of flights is holding back growth, according to tour operators.

The Mediterranean island is often seen as an alternative for Greece fans but wants to gain a stronger image to broaden its appeal. In 2018, nearly 190,000 German tourists visited Cyprus. This was 65,000 more than two years earlier but only 300 more than in 2017.

In its new tourism strategy 2030, the Cypriot tourism ministry is focusing strongly on the German market, not least to reduce the destination’s reliance on the traditionally dominant British market.

For example, best agers are seen as an attractive customer segment, especially to help develop year-round tourism. The Cyprus tourist board is supporting this strategy by promoting activities such as cycling and hiking, cultural tours and gastronomy.

“Cyprus is a tourism multi-talent,” says Patrick Hogrefe, TUI’s head of product management Sun & Beach. Germany’s biggest tour operator believes the island has plenty of potential and has expanded its programme substantially for this summer, offering a total of 270 hotels, including seven own-brand properties.

Other tour operators have also expanded hotel capacity for summer 2019. DER Touristik is cooperating with the Tsokkos hotel group and offering several new hotels, while FTI and Alltours also have new names on offer.

Moreover, German tour operators are full of praise for hoteliers on Cyprus who have invested in their properties, often upgrading them to four- or five-star standards. “A lot has been invested in hotel quality in the last few years,” commented Oliver Grosse-Kleimann, product management director at Alltours. This trend was confirmed by Orestis Raxenidis, regional director for DER Touristik, who described prices on Cyprus as similar to those in Greece.

One problem, however, is a shortage of flight connections to Paphos following the collapse of Germania and the loss of its services to the island. DER Touristik is currently routing guests via Larnaca and offering cheap transfers to Paphos. FTI is working on a solution for next winter but cannot serve all its routes this summer, according to product manager Kyriakos Vardakos. TUI already extended its flight programme, with TUIfly services twice-weekly from Düsseldorf and Frankfurt to Larnaca.