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Cyprus

Coronavirus: Hotels in Larnaca to be ready for second half of the year

Hotels in Larnaca will be ready to operate in June, hoteliers’ association (Pasyxe) representative for the district Ioanna Florentiadou said on Thursday.

The tourism sector suffered losses of up to 85 per cent in the past year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Florentiadou told the Cyprus News Agency.

“Sadly, 2021 is shaping up to be an equally difficult time, although it is expected that tourist traffic will show some movement around the end of June,” with booking beginning to approach normal levels, she added.

Since the government announced that from April 1, Cyprus will be open to tourists from a total of 63 countries – including the European Union, the Schengen area and third countries like Britain, Israel, Russia and Ukraine – travel agents have started to plan trips to the island, Florentiadou said.

Hoteliers are counting on country categorisation, travel agreements like the one with Israel, and the increasing number of vaccinations worldwide to contribute to an improvement for tourism in the second half of the year, she said.

However, so-called ‘quality’ tourism is no longer limited to sun and sea, as tourists ask for varied and different experiences, she remarked, adding that “we need to improve some elements of what we offer so that we can attract the tourism we want and Cyprus needs.

“We also need to focus on the need arising with the pandemic to increase the safety, quality and standards of the services offered to tourists,” she said, pointing out that hoteliers have repeatedly asked for vaccinations for those working in the front lines of the tourism industry.

Vaccinations would be a “competitive advantage,” Florentiadou explained, as they would send the message that the tourism industry is taking steps to make interactions with tourists safe, both for themselves and for the community.

“With these small – but big in impact – measures, we will be able to gain back tourist trust,” she said.

Florentiadou said that most hotels in Larnaca are planning on opening in May or June. “Even though we are not expecting significant tourist movement until then, we want to send the message that we are open for tourists – and the sooner that happens, the better,” she added.

She said hoteliers are hoping “for tangible support and cooperation from the state” so that everyone in the tourism industry can keep their jobs as long as possible.

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