Hotels and catering establishments say they cannot find staff and are asking for the right to employ foreign students to ease the shortage.
The issue was discussed in the House Commerce Committee on Tuesday which heard that besides the difficulty in finding staff, the tourism industry faced a challenging year ahead because of competition from competing markets in the Mediterranean such as Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia.
Cyprus Hotel Association director Zacharias Ioannides told reporters after the meeting that the sector had to operate in a particularly competitive environment and success hangs on being able to provide value for money.
He said there was a severe shortage in skilled and unskilled staff and all stakeholders should find ways to ensure the hotels are adequately staffed.
Professionals should focus on offering quality services and be supported by thousands of students in Cyprus. He rejected criticism that pay was low, saying this was a ‘myth’.
Fanos Leventis, chairman of the Association of catering establishments said that the shortage was acute. The problem was not the wages offered he argued as he urged the Labour Ministry to allow students from non-EU countries to work over the period of June to October full time, and on a part time basis for the rest of the year.