The Paphos district, the main industry of which is tourism, had been dealt an irreparable blow, said the director of the Paphos chamber of commerce and industry, Marinos Stylianou. Although a trickle of arrivals had started recently, the occupancy rates of hotels were very low, and the problems were growing, he said.
We have become accustomed to hearing complaints about the low number of tourists arrivals, even though between 85 and 90 per cent of hotels have opened this summer and are doing business. Apart from the low occupancy rates, hoteliers are also complaining that they cannot find staff and are operating with 40 per cent fewer workers than necessary.
Although this might cause difficulties and force existing staff to do longer hours, it keeps the wage bill down during a time when they have slashed prices in order to attract guests; there are also the government support schemes for which open hotels are still eligible when their turnover has fallen by a certain percentage.
Under the circumstance their complaints are unjustified because it is not just the tourism industry that has suffered economically as a result of the pandemic. The retail and hospitality sectors have also been closed down for months at a time as have many other businesses. Constantly complaining and making out that only hotels have suffered financially from the pandemic is not just wrong, it serves no useful purpose.
Most businesses, probably with the exception of food delivery services and clinical labs that have thrived in the lockdowns, have been adversely affected by the pandemic, but what is use in complaining? Do hotels hope the government will increase the financial assistance it is offering them? This is not possible given that public finances are stretched so much the government needs to become much more restrained in its spending.
The reality is that tourist resorts are packed with local tourists and this will help hotels through August. Meanwhile, September and October are traditionally very good months and with the green pass making travel for Europeans easier, tourism could still have a good end of the season. It is not all doom and gloom, even though some establishments will struggle, but we should learn to cope with the pandemic and the uncertainty it causes by now.
Businesses, including those in the tourism sector, have to adapt to the new conditions in order to survive. Survival will not be secured by complaining and protesting about the uncertainty we all have to live with.