A record number of hotels have joined the state-sponsored staycation scheme starting in May to boost domestic tourism as coronavirus rules are lifted.
More four and five-star hotels, apartments and other tourist accommodation are participating in the new discounted scheme, with rooms at a maximum price of €100 per night.
In comments to state radio CyBC, Philokypros Roussounides, the director-general of the Cyprus Hotel Association, said that the program will contribute toward making up for losses due to the war in Ukraine.
Russia is traditionally Cyprus’ second biggest tourism market, and before the Ukraine war, Cyprus was expecting some 800,000 visitors from the two countries.
Roussounides said a record number of hotels are participating, with 200 joining the scheme.
“There is a long list of hotels, from all categories, offering Cypriots a variety of options,” said Roussounides.
He said this year’s scheme offers more flexibility for more expensive establishments, as the ceiling is set to €100, from €60 and €80 in the previous two years.
“We hope the scheme combined with the positive messages we are receiving from our partners abroad will push us to reach the goal of having a better season than 2021, despite obstacles posed by the war in Ukraine.”
Hotels have received positive messages from its traditionally largest market, the UK, with bookings already pouring in.
“The high season will begin in May when we expect to have a better picture of the number of tourists to come for a holiday.
“We are happy to see bookings up from our traditionally largest market and our third-largest market Israel, from where we had not seen almost any tourists last year due to COVID restrictions.”
Cyprus has more than 20 weekly connections with emerging markets such as France, Germany, and the Nordic countries.
The staycation scheme starts on 1 May until 31 July for residents of Cyprus.
Taking part are hotels, holiday apartments, tourist villages and agro-tourism units that offer a double room with breakfast at a maximum of €100 a night.
The Deputy Ministry of Tourism will subsidise each room by €20 a day, regardless of the price charged at each hotel.
From 1 May until 9 June, the minimum stay will be two nights, and from 10 June until 31 July, it will be three nights. Therefore, the maximum stay per booking is seven nights.
Authorities had introduced similar staycation schemes in 2020 and 2021, with ceilings between 60 and 80.
The scheme in 2021 was for the fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Tourism-reliant Cyprus saw a 51% drop in tourists last year compared to the pre-pandemic 2019 record of four million.