AT a time when coastal hotels are filled to capacity, hotels in the higher altitudes are complaining about the weak demand and the unfair competition from various sides.
Andreas Mandalas, the head of the mountain resorts’ hotelier association, said business was satisfactory only between August 14 and 19. But it could not offset the low occupancy and losses of the rest of the year.
He said mountain resorts were 60 per cent full currently and they expected to reach 100 per cent between Sunday and next Friday.
Occupancy will drop close to 50 per cent by the end of the month, Mandalas said. Occupancy figures are much lower in July, while mountain resorts operated at a loss between February and May.
He said the main problems they faced were lack of adequate connections with airports and coastal areas, exclusion from big tour operators’ holiday packages, and unfair competition from unlicensed hospitality venues and organisations that own holiday homes.
Hoteliers in those areas rely on domestic tourism to keep them going. He added that 98 per cent of customers staying at mountain resorts around the year were Cypriot.
“We always rely on our Cypriot compatriots and that is why we frequently come up with offers to satisfy all budgets,” Mandalas said.
He charged that while they strive to comply with the state’s demands to get their permits, there were others who operated illegally, turning apartment buildings into rooms, which they rent, or simply by renting houses.
There were also the various trade unions, which own holiday retareats for use by their members, but ended up being used by non-members just because they had a relative or acquaintance in the outfit.
Mandalas also complained about the lack of connections with the island’s airports.
“If there were more buses bringing people from Larnaca and Paphos airports, they would have given us another advantage in developing tourism in the mountain areas,” he said. Taking a taxi there from the airports could cost between €70 and €100, he added.
While there are numerous bus routes from Nicosia, the connection with Limassol was limited.
“We have spoken to officials at the CTO (tourism organisation) and they promised that they may find a way to subsidise buses in a bid to help,” he said.
Residents of the area also want the state to build new roads between Nicosia, Kakopetria and Troodos, and between Limassol, Platres and Troodos.