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Cyprus taps new markets amid decline in tourist arrivals
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08:12, March 23, 2009

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Cyprus will set up a working group on tourism with Russia in a bid to attract more Russian holidaymakers to the east Mediterranean island.

This is the latest step that Cyprus has to take to boost its tourism amid the global financial crisis, after less tourist arrivals were recorded in the past two months from traditional target countries like Britain, Greece and Germany.

According to an official statement released on Sunday, Cypriot Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Antonis Paschalides reached the deal during his visit to Moscow last week.

Apart from the working group, the Cypriot side has promised to simplify the visa procedures for Russian travelers to enable them to obtain visa within 24 hours.

About 57,000 tourists arrived in Cyprus in February 2009, representing a significant drop of 19.3 percent in comparison with the corresponding month of 2008. However, 19.4 percent more Russian tourists visited the sunny island.

The year 2009 will be a tough year for Cyprus, whose economy depends largely on tourism, foreign investments and provision of services, Cypriot officials have predicted.

The Cypriot government and the semi-official Cyprus Tourism Organization are putting real efforts to open up new markets and develop traditional ones by sending high-level missions to Germany and Russia recently and planning visits to Philippines and China.

Source: Xinhua

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