The Deputy Ministry of Tourism recently revised the inventory of hotels and tourist accommodations in Cyprus, with the majority of these not meeting the necessary compliance criteria.

The latest data reveals that there are currently 268 hotels operational throughout the region, offering a total of 30,493 rooms and 62,340 beds. Notably, Ayia Napa stands out as the area with the most available accommodations.

Despite the new legislation introduced in 2019 aimed at regulating the sector, a significant portion of these establishments appear to be lagging in compliance.

Only 18 hotels have successfully obtained an operating license under this new framework. This represents a mere 7 per cent of all hotel businesses, highlighting a widespread issue within the industry.

The distribution of hotel ratings further delineates the landscape of the tourism sector in Cyprus. The island hosts 35 five-star hotels, providing 8,439 rooms and 16,744 beds. The four-star category comprises 71 hotels with 12,656 rooms and 25,277 beds.

There are also 80 three-star hotels, 44 two-star, and 22 one-star establishments, catering to a diverse range of preferences and budgets. Additionally, five hotels operate without stars, and another 11 are not listed in the official registers.

Geographically, the hotels are predominantly concentrated in Ayia Napa, which is home to 58 hotels. This is contrasted by Polis Chrysochous, where only ten hotels operate, making it the area with the fewest accommodations.

The capital city of Nicosia houses 11 hotels, Limassol 33, Larnaca 33, and Paphos 52. Paralimni and the mountain regions also have substantial numbers, with 37 and 34 hotels respectively.

The recent legislative developments have prompted the submission of a bill to extend the transitional period for obtaining the necessary licensing until the end of 2024.

This extension is critical as more than 90 per cent of hotel businesses have been unable to meet the original deadline imposed by the 2019 law, which required them to secure operating licenses by March 15, 2024.

Tourism Minister Kostas Koumis emphasised the challenges posed by these legal requirements, noting that most hotels are still struggling to conform to the stipulations of the new law.

In response to ongoing regulatory challenges, several Cypriot political parties, Diko, Dipa, Edek, and the Greens, have put forward a collaborative legislative proposal.

This proposed law maintains the requirement for hotels to secure an operating license by the end of 2024.

However, it introduces a potential exemption for establishments that submit revised architectural plans to the Deputy Ministry of Tourism by the end of this year.

These plans must be accompanied by a certification from the Scientific and Technical Chamber (Etek), verifying that the plans are an accurate representation of the hotel’s current configuration.

This initiative seeks to offer a pragmatic resolution for hotels still trying to comply with the existing regulations.