Cyprus must justify its cost to tourists, hoteliers say, amidst bookings slowdown


President of the Cyprus Hotel Association (Pasyxe) Thanos Michaelides this week raised concerns about a slowdown in summer bookings, indicating that 2024 may see a downturn compared to previous years.

Michaelides also called for everyone in the tourism sector to justify the prices that visitors pay by providing them with an equal level of quality.

Speaking after the general assembly of Pasyxe Famagusta at the Ayia Napa Marina, Michaelides highlighted that despite Famagusta being a key player in Cyprus’ tourism sector, the slowdown in bookings remains worrisome.

“The Famagusta district is one of the most important in terms of Cyprus’ tourism product, not only in terms of quality but also in the number of beds available,” Michaelides stated.

“There is concern about the number of summer bookings, and as we have repeatedly mentioned, we are observing a relative slowdown in the pace,” he added, raising concerns that 2024 will be worse than the previous year.

“All hoteliers,” he continued, “are making efforts to limit this problem,” as efforts are being made through the online campaign of the free Famagusta district that started last month, as well as with special packages to attract tourists.

Responding to a question, Michaelideis said that the issue of lower bookings “exists throughout Cyprus”.

“We’re noticing a relative decline in the flow of reservations, coupled with a growing trend of last-minute bookings. While it’s encouraging to see some late bookings coming in, this dynamic complicates planning for the remainder of the tourist season,” he explained.

In terms of diversification, Michaelides said that “efforts are being made to attract tourists from Central Europe“.

“Every year there is an improved flight schedule, which helps us, but it is not enough to cover the gap that has been created,” he said.

“The economy of Britain, which is the main market for Cyprus, presents some weaknesses that also affect reservations,” he added.

So, he continued, “there are some minor and some more serious issues that limit the number of reservations.”

Asked about the increases in fuel prices and airline ticket prices, Michaelides replied that “Cyprus will always be a relatively expensive destination“.

“We must ensure Cyprus, not just in terms of hotels, provides a tourist product and an experience that is equivalent to what the tourist pays,” he added.

Regarding efforts for year-round tourism in Cyprus, the Pasyxe president said that “for this project to work, the state must also support this effort, in order to create the right conditions for hotels to operate throughout the year“.

In response to inquiries about the matter of foreign workers, he said that “there has been an improvement in the speed of processing applications for approvals”.

“Continual improvement is our goal, and expediting approvals is crucial as our hotels heavily depend on the human element,” he added.

“Labour shortages are a global phenomenon,” Michaelides said.

“If Cyprus fails to expedite the processing of applications for staff recruitment, especially as we approach the peak season, it will become increasingly challenging to attract personnel from third countries,” he cautioned.

From his side, the president of the association’s regional branch in Famagusta Panayiotis Constantinou characterised the discussion held during the general assembly as constructive.

“The primary focus of our discussion centred around reservations, with indications of a slight decrease,” he said.

“We remain optimistic that this situation will see improvement,” he added.

He further highlighted discussions on pertinent labour matters related to the renewal of the collective agreement, green taxation, and the evolving prospects for the surrounding area.

Additionally, he provided an update on the promotional campaign for the Famagusta district, launched on April 24th, saying that member feedback was carefully considered and will be effectively incorporated.



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