Persistent staff shortages at Paphos hotels significantly affect the quality of services offered, the head of the Paphos hotel association Thanos Michaelides said on Thursday.

The issue of finding staff in the hotel industry is a perennial problem after the coronavirus pandemic, Michaelides told the Cyprus News Agency.

Efforts are being made, he said, “to bring in staff from third countries…but it is time-consuming and in some cases you are in the middle of the season.”

This also means lack of qualified staff, since there is no time to train them, resulting in the reduction of the level of services offered.

Therefore, the high shortage of Cypriot workers to staff the tourism industry, is considered too big a blow to the tourism product provided Michaelides said.

Among the ways considered to tackle the problem of finding staff is to change the operating model of the industry, such us the way of operating, the services they offer and perhaps reducing the choices in hotels.

But these drastic changes will not serve the tourism product of Cyprus, the hotel association representative said.

He also clarified that salaries are not the root of the problem, since wages in the hotel industry are the highest. The minimum wage in the hotel industry is much higher than any other minimum wage according to Michaelides. Hotel workers also have the possibility to work part time and full time, he added.

Referring to occupancy rates, Michaelides said that April closed with 65 per cent in Paphos hotels while the month of May will be at the same level.

He added that May used to be a popular month for Ukrainian and Russian tourists before the Ukrainian war, so it is the month when the lack of the Russian market is largely seen and therefore occupancy rates will move to 65 per cent.

More hotel guests are expected around the end of May to early June, he said.