It will be a difficult and bumpy year for the tourism sector, says the president of the Association of Hotel Managers Christos Angelides.
In an interview with Demetra Landou in Sunday’s Phileleftheros, Angelides said that with half the year lost, 2020 will be particularly difficult.
Not all hotels will be able to open this year and those that do will be investing in the future by catering for their repeat guests and building bridges for 2021, even if at a loss, he added.
Factors that will make tourist arrivals to Cyprus difficult include the fact that many governments are encouraging citizens to vacation in their home countries.
With the traditional markets of the UK and Russia not likely to open soon, Cyprus should focus on markets in Central Europe as well as domestic tourism, he added.
As regards the protocols governing the operation of hotels so as to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Angelides said that hotel managers must discreetly render units the second line of protection after the airports.
Asked what he expected for this year as regards tourism, Angelides said spoke of a bumpy year with ups and downs depending on the decisions of the governments in the origin countries as well as the epidemiological situation.
“Things are difficult to very difficult, as the first six months have already been lost. The only projection we can make is that we can’t make a safe projection as things stand now. These will be revised gradually and depending on developments as well as in air transport,” he said.
Asked how reservations were going now that hotels have been permitted to reopen, Angelides said the situation was very fluid with a large number of unknown and unpredictable factors. There was a lot of competition and reservations could be cancelled at any moment, while many governments are encouraging their citizens not to travel abroad for holidays.
There was some interest from local tourism, but this was limited and not enough to cover the losses, he added.
As many hotels as possible will open, when and if conditions permit, but the situation differed from one hotel to another, depending on the age group and country of origin of traditionally their biggest market, he noted.
“Unfortunately, it will not be possible for all hotels to operate this year. Hoteliers will open in order to invest in the future, to cater for their repeat clients. They will open to create the prospect to increase reservations in 2020 and to create a bridge for 2021, even at a loss.”
Hotels will focus on strict compliance with protocols so as to entrench a sense of safety among guests. But this should be achieved without creating a hospital like atmosphere.
“the key therefore is the good preparation, training and faithful compliance with the health sand safety rules, with discretion.”
Asked which markets Cyprus could attract tourism this year given that the UK, Russia and Sweden will be late in opening up, Angelides said that hopes and efforts at this juncture are focused on Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Israel, Lebanon, Poland and other countries in Central Europe.
Emphasis should also go on Cypriots for July and August. “However we should always be aiming at out traditional markets if and when conditions permit,” he added.