Cyprus has been established as an important attractive tourist destination and this year is heading towards a very high performance. Over the last few months bookings have exceeded 95 per cent and the first bookings for 2024 have already started. The assessment based on data and information from tourism agencies, especially tour operators, is that there is a great interest, which is rising.
The new year is expected to start earlier and is predicted to be better than 2023. Tourist markets are expanding in Europe, the Middle East and other countries. Big tour operators are asking hotels for a larger allocation of rooms, while at the same time new tour operators are including Cyprus in their programmes, increasing the demand. Air connectivity is constantly expanding, making Cyprus an attractive destination for more countries.
These findings are very encouraging, on the condition that we deal effectively with the problem of the lack of a qualified workforce for hotels and other tourism businesses.
The tourist product of Cyprus is competitive because of the quality and price it offers, as well as the many other well-known benefits it provides.
Several hotels with the closing of the units in November, are planning renovations and upgrades aiming to maintain the high level of building facilities, equipment, furnishings and digital infrastructure that will satisfy the expectations of every visitor. The better the hotels and tourist establishments are, the better the accommodation, service and entertainment of tourists visiting Cyprus will be.
In order to find sufficient and specialised staff, the assistance of all involved stakeholders is required. A national plan and programme are urgently needed, in the medium and long term and all the agencies must help since the problem is worsening year by year. The Ministries of Labour, Interior, Finance, Education and the Deputy Ministry of Tourism, together with trade unions, the Cyprus Hotel Association, the other stakeholders and local governments must examine and solve the problem that is the Achilles heel of tourism.
The contribution of tourism to the country’s economy has always been and is very high, for this reason Cyprus also needs to improve education relating to the tourism industry for the benefit of the country, the workers and the tourism businesses. All receive a share of the revenue from tourists coming to the island and in order to have prospects and further development, a national strategy and policy is needed.
Employing the necessary staff who are experienced and well trained to fill the positions in the various jobs, is a necessity and a priority, so that the hotels and the food sector in general can meet their obligations. Cyprus cannot afford to lose the good name it has built up and have tourists leave disappointed due to a lack of service, care and service.
The expectations for tourism in 2024 are favourable and even better performance is expected next year. It is up to all stakeholders and the state to work together to ensure that Cyprus is a consistent, quality tourist destination. As the tourist season is extended, the benefits will be greater. However, it is important to ensure competitiveness in order to serve the needs that arise, always with the interest of the country in mind.
George Coucounis is a lawyer practicing in Larnaca and the founder of GEORGE COUCOUNIS LLC, Advocates & Legal Consultants, www.coucounis.law, [email protected]