Though economic measures to boost tourism were announced on Wednesday, there is no way to know how many hotels will actually open or when, various officials in the sector have told the Cyprus Mail.
“Yes, the measures are one part,” Lakis Avraamides, manager of the tourist board of Ayia Napa and Protaras said on Thursday. “One of the main problems is the number of tourists. Hermes Airports has announced there will be a number of flights between June and September, so there will be plenty of flights but flights can come and go, empty or with low capacity.”
Another factor regards changes in flight restrictions.
On June 20, flights will be permitted to arrive from several countries which have, in turn, been separated into categories. Those in category A face no restrictions, those in category B need to bring a certificate from their country saying they tested negative for the virus, and category C countries are only allowed under special circumstances. The list of countries is evaluated weekly and countries can be added and removed based on the latest data available.
“On Friday the second phase starts, and some countries can travel without a certificate. So some countries may move from category B to A or C to B increasing capacity,” Avraamides said.
In the end, each hotelier decides what to do, whether to open hoping the situation will improve and tourists will soon flock to the country, or to wait for actual bookings, he added.
“More and more tourists are expected from countries as time goes by,” director-general of the Cyprus Hotel Association (Pasyxe) Fylokypros Roussounides commented. He also said it was impossible to make a list of hotels which were about to open.
“We motivate as many members as we can to open, so the travel agents have a choice, but things change day by day, and week by week, and categories will move.”
“We have no clear picture,” president of Pasyxe Haris Loizides said. “We will see how many passengers we will have in June and July. During this time hotels should offer attractive packages to Cypriots.”
The scheme announced on Wednesday which concerns hotels and tourist accommodation units will have the government able to step in provided businesses have lost more than 40 per cent of their turnover in June and July.
Businesses must also be required to offer attractive packages to promote domestic tourism and these will be reviewed by the deputy tourism ministry.
For this period, the government will cover the wages of 90 per cent of the staff for companies that will reopen and 80 per cent of those which will not reopen. Labour minister Zeta Emilianidou specified the government will offer 60 per cent of the wages.
Between August and October, businesses which have lost more than 35 per cent of their turnover will be eligible to have the government cover the wages of half their staff for businesses that reopen. Businesses that choose to remain closed will have 80 per cent of their staff’s wages covered with the possibility that this will be reviewed. The government will offer 60 per cent of the wages.