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Labour shortages a concern for bumper tourism figures

ΠτΔ – Παγκύπριος Σύνδεσμος Ξενοδό
Difficulties in finding adequate staff were discussed at the presidential palace

Tourism revenue surged by 25 per cent in 2023 compared to the previous year, potentially marking a new record, according to Deputy Minister of Tourism Costas Koumis.

Koumis had a meeting with the representatives of the Hoteliers Association (Pasyxe) at the Presidential Palace on Monday, the second one in the past two months. The parties discussed the ongoing challenges of finding adequate personnel for employment within the hotel industry.

Present during the meeting were also President Nikos Christodoulides and Labour Minister Yiannis Panayioutou.

“We discussed a wide range of issues, including labour issues, the country’s air connectivity, and our efforts to extend the tourism season,” Koumis said.

He commended the “excellent cooperation between the deputy ministry, Pasyxe and hotel employees’ union Stek”.

“As a government, we find it very encouraging to exchange views and share concerns for the betterment of tourism,” the deputy minister said.

“Arrivals have increased by 21 per cent compared to the previous year. Simultaneously, there’s a substantial rise in revenue, around 25 per cent, indicating the potential for a new revenue record, which is significant for our country’s economy.”

Regarding employment issues, Koumis admitted that they are a concern not just for Cyprus’ tourism industry but for many Mediterranean countries.

“This was the focus of today’s meeting, and we believe we are on the right track in finding solutions,” he said, before stressing the need for each business to address the challenge of finding staff within their capacity, mentioning that the labour ministry is revising existing strategies to be more accommodating to hotel businesses.

Pasyxe’s president Thanos Michaelides described Monday’s meeting as “constructive”, particularly Christodoulides’ involvement.

He reiterated that the most significant problem faced by the sector is the lack of human resources.

“All our competitive Mediterranean destinations are experiencing this issue,” Michaelides said.

“Considering the positive market signals for 2024, there is an urgent need to provide solutions promptly,” he added, underlining the necessity for the right tools to support the economy’s interest.

Responding to questions about hotel occupancy during the Christmas holiday, Michaelides mentioned that hotel occupancy currently stands at 40 per cent, potentially rising to 50 per cent during the Christmas period.

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