Press emphasising safety concerns for tourists after Hezbollah threats last week are “a bolt from the blue” and the only way out is to defuse the situation, the Hotel Professionals of Cyprus association (Pasydixe) said on Tuesday.

Pasydixe said “the negative press reports concerning security are feeding the propaganda of tourist competitors and discouraging travel to Cyprus.

“The only appropriate route is to defuse” the situation, it added.

The press attention from “the recent unfortunate and unjustified references to the so-called involvement of Cyprus in the Middle East crisis can be characterised as a bolt from the blue,” it said.

Pasydixe warned that “if not handled properly, such press reports could lead to negative side-effects and turn into a factor of destabilisation for the economy.”

“In a period when Cyprus is just finding its footing after the pandemics and regional wars, it would be very unproductive to add – without reason – the geopolitical (in)security to the tourist equation,” it pointed out.

Meanwhile, director general of the Cyprus hoteliers association (Pasyxe) Philokypros Roussounides told the Cyprus Mail that so far tourism appeared to be 10 per cent down compared to last year.

He cited the “political situation in the area” as one of the factors affecting tourism, along with “the recession in the UK, the elections of July 4 in the UK, Euro 2024 and the Olympics.

“We are an optimistic industry by nature and this year we have a restrained optimism,” he said.

Roussounides expressed hope that “we will reach the aim to be as close as possible to last year’s levels.

“We are not super-optimistic. We are holding a small basket. There are volatile factors,” he concluded.

Roussounides noted that “how close to our aim we will come will depend on the last-minute bookings, which are affected by various factors,” including regional conflicts.

Although arrivals were near last year’s numbers, overnight stays were “significantly down”.