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Law for glamping edging closer to being passed

a glamping village with semi permanent yurts, gravel paths, and a hot tub

The imminent addition of glamping and hostels as tourist accommodation options, should help attract a new niche market, especially young visitors, the House Commerce committee heard on Tuesday.

The committee hopes a bill regulating hostels that was submitted by MPs Kyriakos Hadjiyiannis and Chrisis Pantelides in consultation with the deputy ministry of tourism, will be approved before the summer. Meanwhile, the same committee on Tuesday concluded discussion of the government’s bill on glamping – or glamorous camping – and is forwarding it to the plenary for a vote.

At Tuesday’s committee meeting, deputy minister for tourism Savvas Perdios congratulated the MPs for moving quickly on the hostel proposal.

“This is a new market for Cyprus,” he said, noting that young people who travel often look for accommodation at hostels. Many of the internet searches for Cyprus concern city breaks and this will boost business for hostels.

The law will promote and upgrade hostels, which is important for Cyprus’ image. It will allow hostels to receive permits, so that owners can benefit from subsidies and incentives of the deputy ministry, he added.

On the glamping bill, Perdios said that this was now at the final stages. The bill follows the latest trends, and introduces a new product that attracts young people as well as people who want to enjoy holidays with a good service in nature. The aim is for the bill to be enacted before the House breaks up for summer.

“There are a number of quality initiatives from the private sector which give us the basis to move ahead with certifications and legislation of these issues,” he said.

During the committee discussion, a representative of the Association of Hostels Owners welcomed the bill which he said would safeguard the minimum operating requirements and enhance Cyprus tourism. But he noted the law should ensure owners can continue to offer low-cost accommodation once it is adopted.

Committee president Hadjiyiannis said the article-by-article discussion of the bill would start soon, so as to fill a legal vacuum. The glamping bill came within the wider tourism strategy, he added.

“With these two bills we are taking steps forward so that we can have a comprehensive tourism service, so that the tourism product is not restricted to specific areas but is distributed throughout Cyprus,” he said.

Diko MP Pantelides said the aim was to fill a legal gap and enrich the tourism product. Hostels attract a very different type of tourist, mostly young people, who travel the world with a backpack, he pointed out.

The bill provides for the establishment of a register of hostels that must satisfy specifications as regards the services they offer, but also as regards the health and safety of their visitors.

There were about 25 hostels in Cyprus pre-pandemic, with the number currently down to 20. Hostels do not compete with other accommodation, as they attract backpackers who fly on budget airlines and use public transport, he added. And he welcomed the support of the University of Cyprus and of private universities, since hostels also cater for Erasmus students.

Discussion started in February, considerable ground has been covered with the help of the deputy ministry and the backing of the association of hostel owners, he said, noting that the objective of House approval before the summer recess was feasible.

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