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Paphos hotels want incentives for tour operators

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Paphos hoteliers want authorities to bolster efforts to enhance the island’s air connectivity in the coming months by providing airlines and tour operators incentives.

Hotels are relishing better winter tourism following another COVID-19 ruined summer season.

In comments to the Cyprus News Agency, chair of the Cyprus Hotel Association Paphos branch, Thanos Michaelides, said boosting connectivity during the winter months would create the dynamics for flight schedules to grow next summer.

Michaelides argued that authorities should consider “ways of supporting airlines and tour operators by offering them incentives”.

He pointed out the island’s rival destinations are extremely generous towards tour operators, giving them an advantage.

“When we plan our strategy to develop large markets in Europe, it is necessary to set up programs to support tour operators and airlines”.

Michaelides also said that Cyprus air connectivity could be enhanced with a dynamic marketing strategy promoting the island as a quality tourist destination and attracting higher-income tourists.

He argued it has become apparent that lowering prices is not an option for Cyprus to compete with other cheaper destinations.

“So, what we have to do, is to improve our quality and authenticity.”

Michaelides echoed other hoteliers in their recent request for the government to tackle labour shortages in the sector.

“If the pandemic is brought under control next year, then the tourist flow in 2022 will be increased compared to the previous two years, closing in on 2019’s record arrivals.

“However, without solving our staff problems, we will not be able to cater to these numbers.

“The state must take its decisions early and provide solutions so that the industry can be ready to welcome the first tourists by March 2022.

“If we do not address this issue collectively, as a tourist destination, we will not be able to provide the right services and lose what we have built in recent years.

“To achieve these goals, Cyprus’ tourism budget must be increased so that we as a country can lay out a long-term strategy to achieve our goals.

“An increase in the budget is not an increase in costs but an increase in investment in the most profitable sector of the Cypriot economy”.