Cyprus tourism stakeholders are betting on attracting locals this summer since the coronavirus epidemic has raised fears that the season may well be over before it began, Phileleftheros reports.
All indications are that domestic tourism will record a rise this year once life goes back to normal and restrictive measures are lifted.
And hoteliers in Cyprus hope to lure locals reluctant to get on a plane and travel abroad for their holidays, reversing the recent trend which has seen Cypriots opting for overseas vacations en-mass.
In fact, Deputy Ministry of Tourism data shows that domestic tourism last year amounted to just about 5% -6%. And that out of a total of 18 million recorded overnight stays at hotels, only about 1.1 million were by Cypriots.
As for domestic tourism revenue in 2018, this generated approximately 6.5% and is expected to be about the same in 2019. For the months of January to December 2019, tourism revenue was estimated at €2.68 billion with the contribution of Cypriots reaching about €174 million.
However, the hotel industry is not the only one hoping to benefit from domestic tourism. Owners of restaurants, bars and cafes are also praying for the prevailing bad psychology to change and for Cypriots to want to spend holidays in their country.
Things are worse for car rental companies and souvenir shops which basically make their living from foreign customers.
At the same time, a total of 477,200 Cypriots travelled abroad during the three summer months last year, with August recording a 6.1% drop due to expensive fares.
This indicates that there is room for domestic tourism figures to go up provided the coronavirus-sparked uncertainty comes to an end.
Nonetheless, another major factor that will affect domestic tourism is the income of a household which may end up not be able to afford a holiday this year. This will all depend on how quickly the economy turns around.
By Demetra Landou