COVID19: Paphos suffering most from tourism downturn

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Paphos, which is almost completely dependent on tourism, has suffered irreparable damage from the economic impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic, a senior official told MPs with arrivals down by 85% and hotels at 20% capacity.

“Due to its unique characteristics, Paphos should be included in the list of affected areas as it is not regarded a centre for public services, nor a hub for international services and business activities, and not even the right population demographics to sustain the economy on its own,” said Paphos Chamber of Commerce director Marinos Stylianou.

“We are a small town and surely the most remote of all urban areas of Cyprus.”

Stylianou said that based on official data from the Statistical Service, some 39% of all the 2.18 mln tourist arrivals in Cyprus during the first half of 2019 were in Paphos.

That number dropped to about 320,600 this year with Paphos accommodating some 125,000, a drop of 85%, he said.

The Paphos chamber official said that although the district’s hotels remain open, providing 17,000 beds, or 50% of all availability, the room capacity rate languishes at 20%.

Stylianou said despite the favourable warm weather, the first 10 days of November indicate a booking rate of 3-3,500 beds, an 80% drop from last year’s accommodation that reached 15,000 beds.

With many other tourism-related enterprises not even open this year, Stylianou submitted a proposal of three measures to the government which need support from parliament.

These included additional furlough and subsidy measures from the Ministry of Labour programme for Covid-19, better utilisation of the EU Emergency Recovery Fund, and a proposal to extend the suspension of loan repayments by small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to banks.