The upcoming tourist season is expected to be much better than 2019
Cyprus’ popularity as a high-quality, low-price tourist destination highlights its competitiveness, attracting more and more holidaymakers. Reservations in hotels already exceed 20 per cent for the entire tourist season signalling that there is an increase in tourists from all markets and that this year will be better than 2019. Visitors, mainly from Europe and beyond, choose Cyprus because of the many advantages it offers: hospitality, service, entertainment, good food, short distances, sun and sea.
Tourism is a pillar of economic stability for Cyprus and investments in the sector have contributed and continue to contribute to the promotion of the competitiveness of the tourism product.
Escapes for a few days of rest and relaxation in a safe and quiet place, away from big cities, under the sun and by the sea rejuvenate visitors. But it is also the entertainment as well as the Mediterranean cuisine and the excursions that all together contribute to the choice of Cyprus as a favourite destination for unforgettable holidays.
The high standard of building facilities, both of the hotels and other tourist accommodation, which are properly and adequately equipped and decorated, inside and out, to welcome visitors, is another advantage making for a comfortable and pleasant stay. The majority of hotels are new or are regularly renovated. The websites of travel agents or the hotels themselves or the platforms of large companies dealing with reservations highlight this advantage.
The adoption of hygiene standards followed by the hotels, and indeed strict ones, provide guests with a sense of security and enjoyment of the variety of food on offer, based on the Mediterranean diet. The primary concern in the hotel sector is the service and satisfaction of the guests, while providing the necessary information to protect against any intolerance to various ingredients. The offer of choices according to dietary preferences also satisfies that category of guests who need special care and respect. This level of care distinguishes the tourism product to meet the full range of modern requirements.
The promotion of programmes aimed at environmental protection and green development is part of the policy that hotels are implementing, particularly in view of the significant cost of electricity, which is a burden on operating costs. Several hotels have already installed solar panels on the roofs of their buildings, but to address the problem the regulator is required to allow the establishment and operation of solar parks on nearby properties to use the electricity generated to offset that consumed in hotels. This is a major issue that needs to be addressed and resolved immediately to reduce electricity bills and promote green growth.
The employment of the necessary staff, who are experienced and well-trained to fill positions in the various jobs, is a necessity and a priority so that hotels and the food service sector in general can meet their obligations. There is a shortage of staff and offering employment on a full-time basis during the whole year could help alleviate this problem. The state must deal with this issue and develop programmes that address this, especially in the winter season, with staff training and education programs.
Expectations for tourism are positive this year, as demonstrated by bookings, and it is up to all stakeholders – the deputy ministry, local authorities, hotels and the other actors involved in the industry – to ensure the advantages that Cyprus offers as a quality tourist destination. It could draw even more visitors and extend the tourist season, so the benefit would be greater. It is important to ensure the competitiveness of the tourism product in order to be able to serve the needs that arise, bearing in mind that the visitors are not only the best visitors, but also the most important ones.
George Coucounis is a lawyer practicing in Larnaca and founder of George Coucounis LLC, Advocates & Legal Consultants, [email protected]