COVID19: Paphos tourism rolls down the shutters

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Paphos hospitality and leisure businesses, along with their Limassol counterparts, are feeling the brunt of the lockdown to tackle coronavirus.

Local lockdowns, an early night-time curfew (8 pm-5 am), coupled with limited air connectivity due to the worsening situation in Europe have forced tourism stakeholders to bring the curtain down on 2020.

In comments to the Cyprus News Agency, director of the Paphos Tourism Board, Nasos Hadjigeorgiou, said that a survey carried out with local Cyprus Hotel Association showed that just 3,000 beds are available for tourists during November-December.

Hadjigeorgiou said in previous years some 15,000 beds were available as usually half the hotels chose to remain open during the winter period.

“Paphos tourism establishments are experiencing unprecedented conditions, as the sector is witnessing the worst season in the past 40 years since the town developed its tourism industry.”

Paphos has been hit hardest from the loss of air connectivity, especially from the UK, which went into lockdown earlier this month for four weeks until 2 December.

The development follows the cancellation of flights to and from Britain as Cyprus epidemiological picture also worsened leading the UK to remove the island from its safe travel corridor list.

People arriving in the UK from Cyprus have to quarantine for two weeks.

Last month, British global travel group Thomas Cook and Jet2 dropped Cyprus holiday packages and flights from their programmes after the island was added to the UK’s travel quarantine list.

The UK is Cyprus’ largest tourist market with a third of annual tourist arrivals which reached 3.97 million in 2019.

Hadjigeorgiou said Paphos is now placing its money on a vaccine discovery in the coming months that will end the pandemic allowing industry stakeholders to focus on recovery in 2021.

Meanwhile, the lockdown has meant that businesses related to tourism in the coastal town of Paphos and Limassol have also been shut down.

According to website Philenews, 2,433 catering establishments in Limassol and Paphos have been affected by the lockdown.

Some 1,520 of which are in Limassol and 913 in Paphos including restaurants, tavernas and catering services.

Furthermore, Limassol and Paphos saw 202 cafes, 149 coffeeshops, 140 bars and 30 nightclubs close.