The president of the Paphos association of recreational establishments such as bars and clubs will seek a meeting with the deputy minister of tourism to discuss the problems faced by the sector.

The association said that although the deputy minister maintained that tourist arrivals were higher than last year and that tourism was on an upward path, business at Paphos’ bars and clubs was below expectations. In fact, in June and July the sector experienced “serious problems.” Business in August was good, but the problems that emerged in the previous months deeply concerned the sector.

It would appear that the good figures for tourism related only to hotels and not clubs and restaurants, the association concluded. This is the familiar gripe of bars, clubs and restaurants in the tourist resorts, although it was not spelt out – many tourists stay at hotels on full board and do not spend money in bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants. Some hotels even offer unlimited drinks in their packages that means their guests see no point venturing out.

What do the bar and club owners expect the deputy minister to do about this? Stop hotels offering full-board accommodation and unlimited drinks packages? Or perhaps a hotel should force guests to leave the hotel for a night on the town at least twice during a week’s stay? Maybe hotels that offer full-board and unlimited drinks will have to pay an extra tax to compensate bars and clubs for loss of business.

These are just some of the absurd ideas that the association could propose to the minister, because in Cyprus, when things are not going well for businesses, the owners expect the state to come to the rescue. This is because the politicians, in the search for votes, have cultivated such expectations by treating demands for assistance as reasonable.

Nobody ever mentions the fact that we have a market economy, in which there is competition for customers and that there is an element of risk involved in any business. Has it not occurred to the Paphos association of recreational establishments that there might be too many bars and clubs for all of them to be viable? Some might lose business because prices are too high, customer service is poor, drinks and snacks are low quality, the décor is unhip and any number of other reasons.

Hotels, meanwhile, are doing nothing illegal in ensuring their guests spend their money on the premises. This is how the free market operates and businesses cannot be protected from competition by the state. It is time this was made clear to our businesspeople, who, after all these years, still think the state has a duty to help them out when things are not going well.