By Evie Andreou
BAR and restaurant owners cannot be allowed to tarnish Cyprus’ image by overcharging visitors and for this reason the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) has launched a pricelist for coastal hotels and restaurants, its head said.
The list, which can be found online with an English version due next week, shows the recommended prices for food, water and coffee in 157 coastal bars, restaurants and hotels.
“We want to give the chance to the public and tourists to compare prices so that with their own consumer behaviour they can punish profiteering,” CTO chief Marios Hannides said.
Hannides added that in the past isolated cases of profiteering have travelled around the world, tarnishing Cyprus’ image.
“It is sad in this difficult phase of the Cyprus economy, which is being countered by an increase in arrivals and increasing the government’s revenues from tourism, to have such cases of profiteering that tarnish the Cyprus tourism product,” he said.
Hannides said the list has urged some business owners to lower their prices despite their initial complaints that it was not in their best interests.
“Prices should be compressed downward so that our tourist product will be competitive,” he said and gave as an example a business owner in the McKenzie area of Larnaca who was selling water at a higher price than other businesses nearby but in the end he was forced to lower his price to be more competitive.
“That way, both the business and the consumer benefit,” Hannides said.
But the chairman of the Pancyprian Restaurants’ and Entertainment Establishments’ Owners Association (PASIKA), Phanos Levendis, said the list did more harm than good.
“I believe that in the end it can cause a lot of damage because what we read and publish online can also be read by others,” Levendis said. “That is like advertising abroad that there is profiteering here, and I believe that in the end the damage will be much more than the benefit.”
Levendis said that instead of publishing the list online there should be strict law enforcement to make sure that every recreation establishment advertises their pricelists outside their establishments so consumers can see the prices before they enter.
In addition to the list, the CTO has prepared a Holiday Guide, in Greek, to inform consumers of their responsibilities and rights during their holidays in Cyprus.
The list can be found at www.visitcyprus.biz
CTO is currently working on the English version of the list, which is expected to be released next week.