Hotel occupancy rates in Cyprus are expected to range from 50 to 55 per cent in April, according to the president of the hoteliers association (Pasyxe) Thanos Michaelides, who also added that about 90 per cent of hotels on the island are operational.

Regarding reservations for 2024, Michaelides said there’s a slight decrease compared to the same period last year.”

“This year will close with lower occupancy than 2023,” he said.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency on Tuesday, Michaelides specifically mentioned that occupancy rates from the beginning of the year until April are down, with the biggest difference observed in April. This is due to Easter falling in March this year, while Orthodox Easter will be much later, in May.

“Now that April, effectively the first month of the summer season, has begun, we see a relatively improved flow, but we are still unable to judge how the season will end, while there remains a difference from 2023.”

He added that most bookings come from the UK, France, Germany, and Poland. Arrivals from Israel, one of the largest markets for Cyprus, are down because of the conflict in Gaza.

Michaelides also explained that the current economic climate in the UK are is also slightly affecting bookings.

“We need monitor the evolution of bookings each month to see how the situation will progress,” he said.

As far as May is concerned, Michaelides admitted that occupancy rates are somewhat low, but also said that last-minute bookings could change the situation.

Regarding the issue of staffing shortages in the tourism industry, he said that there is improvement in the speed of processing applications.

Staffing shortages remain a global problem that we also need to address.”

Asked whether Cyprus could cater to alternative types of tourists, Michaelides said that there is great potential for improvement.

“Especially before summer, from November to April, we need to focus more on sports and gastronomical tourism,” he said.

“All areas of Cyprus are suitable for family vacations, and all are unique. The Famagusta district, for example, has very good beaches, whereas the Paphos district, with great archaeological sites, can attract people more interested in sightseeing.”