Overbooking is one of the main complaints, along with cleanliness, received by the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) an official said on Friday.
With record numbers of arrivals both last year and this year, there have been more reports of incidents of overbooking but the CTO can only act when establishments come under its jurisdiction and are able to do something about it, an official said. Overbooking can be a problem with many unlicensed apartments, he added.
“In case someone books a room or a villa and pays for it over the Internet and then they come to Cyprus and there is something wrong with it [the booking] or it is overbooked and the person who received the money is not in Cyprus, it is difficult to do anything,” tourism officer Kyriakos Kyriakou explained.
“Some complaints concern us and some concern other authorities, such as the airports or the municipalities,” he added.
When people have complaints which are not for the CTO such as those about taxi drivers, delays at the airports and public toilets, The CTO either directs the complainants to the proper authorities or works directly with those in charge to solve the problem., Kyriacou said.
The CTO recommends that travellers have a written confirmation of their booking. There are other less well known regulations such as for example, a hotel can ask for an advanced payment for three nights in summer and one night in winter but may not ask for a minimum stay.
In order to get their money back, guests should cancel a room seven days before their arrival. If they need to leave earlier unexpectedly, they are obliged to pay half of the room rate for the remaining days.
In case of overbooking, the establishment has to provide for alternative accommodation with the same facilities in the same area with the hotelier paying any price difference. The hotel may refuse only clients who are drunk or unruly or have an infectious disease, but they may not refuse children.
As regards prices, hotels in mountain areas may ask guests to make bookings with half-board only, and only during July and August. Hotel owners cannot charge for sunbeds and umbrellas on their premises but can for facilities such as sauna and Jacuzzi. Hotels with swimming pools are required by law to have a lifeguard on duty during opening times.
Recreation centres with the exception of cafes, takeaways, canteens and cafeterias are controlled by the CTO as well as the hotels.
Before even entering a restaurant, the customer must be able to see a pricelist which has to be in Greek and one other language which is spoken by most tourists or residents. Only when there is special entertainment may the establishment charge a cover charge.
The beaches are under the jurisdiction of the municipalities but CTO advises that licences are needed for beach parties and only when the organisers agree to restore the beach to its original state. Camping, however, is not allowed on beaches and dogs are only allowed at two dog beaches.
To ensure safety, buoys are in place in the sea during the summer which mark corridors for all vessels, motorised or not. This must be respected from 7am to 9pm; at other times the sea is considered ‘open’.
To prevent people from covering the beaches with sunbeds, the legislation states that 50 per cent of the beach must be left empty, and not more than one umbrella and two beds should be placed within 16 square metres. Water sports are only allowed at specific points.
A list of licensed CTO accommodation can be found here: