A draft bill that will regulate the operation of hostels on the island will be ready in a month, filling a gap in tourism-related legislation, it emerged on Tuesday.
The need to create a legal framework for hostels on the island was highlighted during a House energy, trade, industry and tourism committee meeting.
To date, there are ten hostels on the island, according to the head of Cyprus youth hostel federation Elias Eliades, who explained they do not compete with hotels, as they target different customers.
Hostels concern low-income tourism since they rent out beds not rooms. They target mainly youth, backpackers, Erasmus students and digital nomads, he said.
“It is quality tourism from people who are interested in visiting museums and nature trails,” Eliades added.
A representative of the employers and industrialists’ federation (Oev) said Cyprus is the only EU country that is not represented in the European Federation for youth hostels. The representative sounded the alarm that without a legal framework, a corresponding body in the north may be registered with the EU.
The need for a legal framework was also supported by the Cyprus Youth Organisation, which said it wishes to cooperate with this type of business, as it supports the low-cost option for temporary residence.
The deputy ministry of tourism also expressed readiness to discuss the matter if need arises.
In his statements, Chairman of the committee Disy MP Kyriacos Hadjiyiannis said it is not only a matter of tourism development, but also of social development.
“Cyprus has every obligation to provide this opportunity, it is a social need, especially for a country that has an increased number of students and a huge housing problem,” Hadjiyiannis said after the meeting.
He added that instructions have been given for a comparative study of how hostels work in other countries and in a month at the latest there will be a draft bill.
Meanwhile, Diko MP Chrysis Pantelidis said in a statement that “the establishment of such a framework will enrich the tourism market of Cyprus and will create the conditions for the development of a healthy, competitive and quality environment in another sector of tourism.”