Some 363 unemployed people showed up for job interviews at the Alexander The Great hotel in Paphos, the local hoteliers association head Thanos Michaelides said on Saturday, as the local industry seeks to alleviate long-standing labour shortages.

Thousands of workers are needed across the sector.

The number of people who showed up for the jobs on offer at the hotel corresponded to 37 per cent of 992 unemployed people who were invited for an interview through a labour ministry list of jobless workers in the sector.

Michaelides said the turnout was similarly low in Limassol, where 24 per cent of the people invited for interviews showed up, with just 156 out of 641 invitees visiting the interview sites.

Asked about the hiring criteria, the association head explained that the Cypriot hotel industry was currently seeking 6,000 staff, including specialised and unspecialised personnel, while an additional 2,000 workers were being sought by the casino in Limassol.

The initiative to seek out hotel workers from the unemployed was launched by the ministry of labour.

“There is a huge gap in the labour market, and hotels cannot operate and offer all of the services agreed with tour operators without the right staff,” Michaelides said, before reiterating that the association has proposed the employment of people from certain third countries, including non-EU Council of Europe countries and Lebanon, citing the latter country’s experience with tourism.

“There is interest from tourists to come to Cyprus for holidays and we are afraid that we may not be able to fully meet the demand,” Michaelides concluded.

According to deputy minister for tourism, Savvas Perdios earlier in the week, searches for holidays in Cyprus have doubled and tripled over this time last year as country after country in Europe ditch Covid restrictions.

Around two million tourists visited last year, which was around half of the pre-pandemic record number of four million in 2019.