Hoteliers sounded the alarm on Monday over booking cancellations already underway, warning that unless something “drastic” happens, it could be curtains on the entire 2021 tourist season.
Speaking to Stockwatch, Marios Polyviou, of the Larnaca branch of Pasyxe (hoteliers association) said the recent vaccination incentives promulgated by the government won’t do the trick in time.
“The measures announced will not help immediately, certainly they’ll help in the medium-term. Perhaps in two to three months they’ll contribute to increasing vaccine coverage, but not imminently, as the dire situation requires.”
Polyviou noted that in the following week the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) will update the epidemiological status of Cyprus, which runs the risk of ending up in the ‘deep red’ category.
During the last ECDC update, Cyprus was downgraded to ‘red’ due to the recent increase in the incidence of coronavirus cases per 100,000 population.
“On the other hand,” added Polyviou, “when we constantly switch categories and are not stable, this back-and-forth may cost us the entire season because tour operators have already made their plans, and from the moment that they’re forced to halt flights, they could never reinstate them.
“Unfortunately, it’s not a given that the flights to Cyprus will resume.”
The hotelier said that unless the epidemiological situation improves soon, July, August and September would be “lost.”
Weighing in, the chairman of Pasyxe’s Famagusta branch Doros Takkas said cancellations of existing bookings have already begun, while new bookings are virtually non-existent.
Takkas said a number of hotels in the Famagusta district are mulling halting operations as the two main tourist markets -Russia and the UK – remain closed to Cyprus.
“We expected more drastic measures from the government, which unfortunately we have not seen. Beyond encouraging immunisation, the only measure taken was the return of the SafePass, and this effective as of July 9.
“Unfortunately more drastic measures with immediate effect are required, not long-term, otherwise this year as well will be over as far as tourism goes.”
For his part, the head of Pasyxe’s Paphos branch Thanos Michaelides expressed grief that “the current situation” is due to “certain of our fellow countrymen who refuse to get jabbed. A percentage of Cypriots risks not only putting their own health at risk, but also the economy which relies on tourism.”
Michaelides told Stockwatch that hotels in Paphos had hoped the British market would have opened up on July 19.
But with the deteriorating epidemiological indexes here, that prospect now appears far-fetched.