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‘Small miracle’ for Famagusta hotels, Paphos ‘not having very good summer’

Hotels in Famagusta saw occupancy rise to over 80 per cent in August, buoyed by Russian tourists but also Cypriot holidaymakers who opted to stay on the island rather than travel abroad now that restrictions were a bit more relaxed.

In Paphos on the other hand, the island’s second main holiday destination, with British tourists staying away, hotels were “not having a very good summer” as occupancy in August reached 60 per cent.

The chairman of Famagusta hoteliers Doros Takkas said the increased tourist numbers in Ayia Napa and Protaras were a “small miracle” considering that the European Centre of Disease Control (ECDC) has placed Cyprus in deep red due to the high prevalence of the coronavirus.

“Specifically, in the Ayia Napa and Protaras area, especially after the first week of August when tourism was boosted by Cypriot holidaymakers also, hotel occupancy reached and surpassed 80 per cent,” Takkas said.

He said the surge in Famagusta was the result of increased tourist arrivals from Russia, who appeared to prefer the area.

Eight out of 10 Russian tourists traditionally opted for Ayia Napa and Protaras, he said.

Takkas said they expected more from the UK, traditionally the island’s main tourism market, but “we are not despairing,” he added, hoping that things would pick up in the next two months.

Famagusta has also seen visitors from Poland, Germany, and Switzerland but the industry hoped Russian tourists would keep coming in September and October.

“Flights from Russia have been scheduled during these two months, but we cannot look ahead so far since reservations are literally made at the last moment because of the effects of the Delta variant of the coronavirus on the whole of Europe,” Takkas said.

Apart from the virus fallout, the island’s tourism industry also faced serious staff shortages.

“This is a very serious matter which authorities must deal with at some point,” he said.

Across the island, in Paphos, his counterpart Thanos Michaelides said hotels were not having “a very good summer.”

While the first half of August was relatively good, the second half is showing lower occupancy and the average for the whole month is not expected to exceed 60 per cent, he said.

Michaelides said there were no major changes in arrivals from the UK.

Perhaps after 10 days business will be better, but hoteliers certainly cannot expect something exceptionally good since as September approached “and there is no change in the flow of reservations there cannot suddenly be a miracle.”

As regards other markets, Israel is currently closed and any movement in the others was not enough to change the situation.

Michaelides said there were fewer local holidaymakers compared with last year, as some Cypriots chose to travel abroad, with the exception of Polis Chrysochous, which saw large number of locals.

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