The Cyprus Hotel Association is calling for the opening up of entry to a much broader range of tourists as soon as possible. They want British, Russians, and Scandinavians by the end of July, if likely.
“We’ve had indications from the government that this could happen as early as July 20,” Philokypros Roussounides, the new director-general of the Cyprus Hotel Association, told the Cyprus Mail on Wednesday.
“And the Tourism Ministry has done a great job in promoting our membership and the island. So the demand is going to be there. But the bookings won’t come in until a date is set.”
“We need the British, the Russians and the Scandinavians, and as many others as possible. We respect the government’s need to safeguard the nation’s health, but other countries, with which we compete, like Greece and Spain, have already set dates for a relaxation of such restrictions,” he points out.
“So we need a date as soon as possible. It doesn’t have to be in July, it could be at the beginning of August, for example, but the date needs to be set,” he adds.
Setting the date is critical, Roussounides explains, “because the large international tour operators need to book for Cyprus in advance. These bookings need to be logged in soon so that many more guests can come later.”
Roussounides says that the number of guests in hotels is deficient at the moment — a fraction of what it was in the previous year.
“And about 70 percent of bookings have been switched to later dates. While we do expect the number of new bookings to increase, unless a greater number of countries are permitted to enter the country, this will not happen fast enough.”
He noted that part of the promotion for the island should be for short stays and to bring in tourists for more extended vacations booked well in advance.
Deputy Minister of Tourism Savvas Perdios has said that the ministry is trying hard to open up new markets and attract new types of tourism and new-age groups so that our product gets expanded.
The first steps are to be taken for the Czech Republic, Poland, and Ukraine. After that, the promotion will be expanded to Germany, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, and Belgium.
The deputy minister has also set into motion programs that promote Cyprus as a year-round tourism destination, not just a beach vacation.
For now, there is a ban on travel to Cyprus for residents of the UK and Russia, and the government has not stated when that ban would be reviewed or terminated.
Residents of the following countries have been able to enter Cyprus since June 9: Malta, Greece, Bulgaria, Norway, Austria, Finland, Slovakia, Hungary, Israel, Denmark, Germany, Slovenia, and Lithuania.
As of Saturday, nationals of the countries included in the B category will be eligible to enter from June 20, when the second stage starts, are as follows: Switzerland, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Croatia, and Estonia.