Sponsored staycation scheme until January

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Authorities have decided to extend a state-sponsored staycation scheme for Cypriots in a bid for tourism to make the most out of the warm winter months.

Encouraged by the results of the sponsored summer holidays scheme for residents, which generated 300,000 overnight stays at the island’s hotels, the Deputy Ministry of Tourism is planning to extend the scheme.

In comments to the website Stockwatch, Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios said: “The 300,000 overnight stays indicate that, on the one hand, Cypriots are interested in a staycation, while on the other, the scheme has supported the local tourism industry well beyond expectations”.

Perdios said the deputy ministry is looking into extending the scheme until the end of January 2022, carrying the industry torch into a “hopefully” better year.

“We hope that by then, things will turn around in time for a new beginning in 2022. The indications we have received so far are encouraging.”

Under the current scheme, residents of the island can take advantage of an extended scheme for state-subsidised staycations for COVID-19 vaccinated guests until the end of November.

Hotels are offering stays at a maximum of €60 a night per room, with the government subsidising 35% of the total cost of the holiday booked.

The subsidy applicable as of September is activated once a minimum two-night stay is paid for – so two nights at €60 is reduced from €120 to €78.

Those eligible are Cyprus residents who have been vaccinated with at least one dose or recovered from Covid-19 up to 180 days before their stay at the hotel.

The government has also approved a discount holiday scheme worth €300,000 for pensioners with a low income for a staycation at mountain resorts.

The scheme started 1 September until the end of the year.

Perdios said his ministry is also promoting Cyprus as a tourist destination abroad during the remainder of the year.

He said €3 mln would be spent on the campaign, including contacts with partners abroad and participating in international tourist exhibitions to boost the island’s seasonality.

Perdios said that 2021, due to the ongoing pandemic, is a transitional year for tourism.

“The tourism industry will be rebooted in 2022.

“The performance of the summer months allow us to be moderately optimistic.

“Until May, no month had seen more than 20% of arrivals recorded in the same month as 2019.

“June was the first month to rise to 35% and July to 55%, compared to 2019”.

August performed more or less than July, while an increase in flights in September and October have boosted hopes for a further increase in arrivals.