Paphos hotels have recorded their first cancellations that are believed to be due to international concern over coronavirus, but these are few in number and do not have a significant impact, philenews reported on Wednesday.
No cases of coronavirus have been recorded in Cyprus, however the worldwide travel industry has been shaken by uncertainty.
Thanos Michaelides, who heads the Paphos branch of the Cyprus Hotel Association told philenews that the situation is fluid as no one knew what the next day would bring.
“This week we had a very small number of booking cancellations which are not at a level as to mean serious repercussions. Of course we are not completely certain that they are because of the coronavirus, even this is highly likely given the international panic. The situation with the coronavirus is fluid and it is too early to predict with any certainty if and to what extent it will affect our tourism,” he said.
What was positive for the tourism sector is that so far there have been no coronavirus cases in Cyprus, he added.
Michaelides said this year will be a critical one for the tourism industry given the additional uncertainty over the impact of Brexit.
“Bookings for March-June are behind compared to the corresponding period last year. All indications are that we will have lower occupancies than on 2019. And we should bear in mind that when occupancies drop, so do the prices which the hotel units secure,” he added.
Given additional costs, mostly as a result of the implementation of the General Health Scheme and trade union issues, it is certain that profitability will be affected this year, Michaelides said.
Michaelides said that January and February Paphos Airport figures shows an increase in arrivals compared to the corresponding period last year, despite lower occupancy at hotels, something he said showed that a significant number of visitors either stay in unlicensed accommodation or goes directly to the Turkish-held north.