Though economic measures to boost tourism were announced on Wednesday, there is no way to know how many hotels will open or when various officials in the sector have told the Cyprus Mail.
“Yes, the measures are one part,” Lakis Avraamides, manager of the tourist board of Ayia Napa and Protaras, said on Thursday.
“One of the main problems is the number of tourists. Hermes Airports has announced several flights between June and September, so there will be plenty of flights, but flights can come and go, empty or with low capacity.”
Another factor regards changes in-flight restrictions.
On June 20, flights will be permitted to arrive from several countries that have, in turn, been separated into categories.
Those in category A face no restrictions; those in category B need to bring a certificate from their country, saying they tested negative for the virus, and category C countries are only allowed under exceptional circumstances.
The list of countries is evaluated weekly, and states can be added and removed based on the latest data available.
“On Friday, the second phase starts, and some countries can travel without a certificate. So some countries may move from category B to A or C to B increasing capacity,” Avraamides said.
In the end, each hotelier decides what to do, whether to open, hoping the situation will improve, and tourists will soon flock to the country or wait for actual bookings.
“More and more tourists are expected from countries as time goes by,” director-general of the Cyprus Hotel Association (Pasyxe) Fylokypros Roussounides commented.
He also said it was impossible to make a list of hotels that were about to open.
“We motivate as many members as we can to open, so the travel agents have a choice, but things change day by day, and week by week, and categories will move.”
“We have no clear picture,” president of Pasyxe Haris Loizides said. “We will see how many passengers we will have in June and July. During this time, hotels should offer attractive packages to Cypriots.”
The scheme announced on Wednesday, which concerns hotels and tourist accommodation units, will allow the government to step in, as businesses have lost more than 40 percent of their turnover in June and July.
Businesses must also be required to offer attractive packages to promote domestic tourism, and the deputy tourism ministry will review these.
For this period, the government will cover 90 percent of the staff’s wages for companies that will reopen and 80 percent of those which will not open. Labour minister Zeta Emilianidou specified the government would offer 60 percent of the salaries.
Between August and October, businesses that have lost over 35 percent of their turnover will be eligible to have the government cover half their staff’s wages for companies that reopen.
Businesses that choose to remain closed will have 80 percent of their staff’s wages covered with the possibility that this will be reviewed. The government will offer 60 percent of the salaries.