Hoteliers in Ayia Napa and Protaras are feeling uneasy over the number of holidaymakers choosing to come to Cyprus next summer as tourism is still shackled by the coronavirus pandemic.
Cyprus Hotel Association (CHA) Famagusta branch chairman Doros Takkas said the lack of tourists will see most hotels that are now open close in September while next season has a cloud of uncertainty hanging over it.
“There are several parameters that tourism stakeholders are concerned over, including the availability of a coronavirus vaccine, whether people will be willing to get vaccinated and the change in the psychology of the public when it comes to travelling,” he told CNA.
He said that travel restrictions, due to the coronavirus pandemic, imposed by various European countries has resulted in very low levels of tourism in Famagusta which is the island’s most popular destination.
The overall drop in bookings at Ayia Napa and Protaras hotels is estimated at over 90%
Asked whether hotels are feeling more confident after deals with British tour operators such as Jet2 to resume flights to Cyprus, Takkas said: “Hoteliers do not feel these arrivals involve a large number of tourists”.
He said those coming seem to be Cypriots or Britons who live on the island escaping from the prevailing situation in their country.
There was a boost given by local tourists to hotels which saw an increase in their occupancy, but this increase was short-lived as Cypriots take their annual leaves during the first three weeks of August.
“We are expecting a drop in our occupancy rates, as Cypriots will be returning to work from next week, but we hope to be seeing Cypriot tourists during the weekends,” said Takkas.
“Things are very difficult, as Cyprus has slotted a number of European countries in category B, or other countries have knocked us off their safe list, there is not much hope to see large numbers of tourists arriving before or after the end of the summer season.”
He said that most hotels in the region are expected to close down in September as hoteliers do not expect any tourists arriving from countries such as Russia, the UK, Finland, and Germany which traditionally supplies Cyprus with tourists.
“It is estimated that only 30% of the hotel units are currently operating and most of them will not be able to remain open in September and October.”
Asked about the reduction in numbers of tourists finding their way to hotels in Famagusta, Takkas said that “it is estimated that the overall drop in bookings exceeds 90%.