President of the Famagusta Hoteliers Association (Pasyxe) Panayiotis Constantinou remains cautiously optimistic about the future of tourist bookings in the Famagusta district, despite the challenging circumstances currently plaguing the tourism industry.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), Constantinou explained that his stance comes despite the recent bankruptcy of the German tour operator FTI, which has caused a significant disruption in the local tourism sector.

“The situation with bookings in the hotels of Famagusta district is not as expected, since we have several units that are not in the condition they would like to be in terms of occupancy,” he said.

“This seems to improve after mid-June and there is a better flow of arrivals and occupancy rates in hotels will be at good levels,” Constantinou added.

He also mentioned that there is an expectation for a tentative recovery on the horizon, with improvements anticipated as the peak season progresses.

However, the collapse of FTI has dealt a considerable blow to the area. In terms of its impact, Constantinou said that the tour operator “was responsible for the arrival of around 30,000 people to Cyprus”.

“In particular, 70 per cent to 80 per cent of this agency’s business was in Larnaca and Famagusta district,” he added.

The fallout from this development is stark, with about 500 holidaymakers in the Famagusta district having their vacations disrupted.

Thankfully, Constantinou notes, “the process of repatriation to their countries has begun”.

“Fortunately, everything seems to be going smoothly and there are no particular issues with flights or the process for their repatriation,” he said.

Addressing the loss of bookings directly linked to FTI’s demise, Constantinou expressed a realistic yet hopeful outlook.

“It goes without saying that many of these bookings will be lost, however, some bookings have already been made in the same hotels that were originally booked with other partners or with other tour operators,” he stated.

“This is positive, but I believe that the vast majority of the bookings will be lost,” he added.

The issue of compensation for the affected hoteliers remains a critical concern. “There does not seem to be any compensation,” he noted, adding that “unfortunately, the hoteliers are the last in the chain to expect to receive any money owed and there seems to be no indication that any of this money will be returned to the hoteliers”.

In response, Pasyxe is conducting a study to assess the extent of the financial impact on local hoteliers, acknowledging that “FTI seemed to be suffering financially and hoteliers were taking certain measures”.

“However, there are certainly instances where money is being owed and, in some cases, concerning large amounts of money,” he added.

Looking forward, Constantinou underlined the need to adapt and seek out new opportunities. “Surely the gap left by the bankruptcy of this travel agency will have to be filled by other markets and agents, given that the demand for holidays will continue,” he stated.

“It is yet another loss in this season in addition to the other losses we have to deal with, such as the ongoing war in Ukraine and the Middle East and the bad economic situation in the countries from which we draw tourists, such as Germany and the United Kingdom,” Constantinou added.

“Then there are the sporting events such as the Olympics in Paris and the holding of the European championships, with a large number of people making arrangements to attend these events in person,” he concluded.