Mountain resorts have overtaken coastal hotels as Cypriots rush to book a holiday getaway, hoping for a white Christmas.
Owners of mountain hotels report they are fully booked for the holiday weekends, while the majority of hotels are closing down operations as tourist arrivals dwindle.
In comments to news site Stockwatch, Andreas Pavlou, the manager of the Christys Palace Hotel in the Troodos mountain village of Pedoulas, said they have been turning down Cypriots looking to book a Christmas break.
“Mountain resorts are fully booked from Christmas eve until Boxing Day and from 30 December to New Year’s day.
“People are constantly calling, looking for rooms, but we are in the difficult position to disappoint them,” said Pavlou.
He added that hotels are also fully booked for the weekends leading up to the holidays and shortly after, but they are empty on the days between.
“In the summer months, in addition to the domestic market, especially on weekends and weekdays, the hotels were almost full of tourists from France, Germany, Poland and a few Israelis and Britons”.
Director General of the Cyprus Hotel Association, Philokypros Roussounides, said just 50 hotels have remained open to cater mainly to local tourists.
“Some 50 hotels remaining open during the winter season, mainly in Limassol and Paphos, are hoping to make the most of local tourism, offering attractive packages to Cypriots,” said Roussounides.
“The offers and attractive packages will continue throughout the winter and on Christmas and New Year’s Days, hoping the influx of foreign tourists will also increase.
“The hotels are in festive mode and prepared their programs for Christmas and New Year.”
Roussounides invited Cypriots to choose hotels to enjoy a happy Christmas and New Year getaway and said those interested should visit the association’s website to find offers.
The limited number of bookings by foreign tourists are from Poland, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, and France and few from Britain, plagued by energy and economic crisis.
CHA’s Paphos chair Thanos Michaelides confirmed there is limited interest from foreign tourists, while overall bookings are quite low for December.
He pointed out: “We should note that due to the increase in the cost of living and energy, the operating costs of hotels that remain in operation are increased; therefore, their profitability is very low”.
Paphos has 8,000 beds available of all types of hotel units, from a total of 110,000 beds.
“There is a choice of five-, four- and three-star hotels, and other tourist accommodation, so there is also a variety of prices for all tastes and wallets,” said Michaelides.
“All the hotels that remain open have prepared festive programs for Christmas and New Year’s”.