Financial Mirror (Cyprus)

Hotels offer discounts to lure Cypriots

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Hotels across the island are opening their doors this week offering discounts to Cypriots, following the easing of lockdown that banned hotel stays for residents.

Aided by a state incentive scheme, hoteliers will hope to lure in Cypriots holidaymak­ers while foreign tourists are scarce on the ground.

The Deputy Ministry of Tourism has extended till the end of June a discount scheme for local tourists, offering stays at hotels at a maximum of EUR 60 per night, with the state subsidisin­g the cost.

The Cyprus Hotel Associatio­n has welcomed the initiative, noting interest from Cypriots to take advantage of domestic tourism packages.

In comments to the Financial Mirror, Cyprus Hotel Associatio­n head Filokypros Rousounide­s said that Cypriots are making enquiries about whether hotels will open this month.

He said building momentum with Cypriot tourists will need “a show of good will from everyone”.

Rousounide­s was referring to Cypriots’ obligation to carry a “safe pass” in order to book a stay at a hotel or dine at local restaurant­s.

Following the lifting of the lockdown, authoritie­s require Cypriots to carry proof of a negative coronaviru­s test, proof of being vaccinated with at least one dose a minimum no earlier than three weeks or proof of contractin­g the virus within the past six months.

The island was hoping to be on the UK’s green list that would signal mass arrivals from its biggest tourist source.

Cyprus is hoping to be placed on the list in June which would mean Britons will not have to self-isolate on their return home.

Rousounide­s believes the high number of rapid tests is to blame for Cyprus being left out.

“If this excessive number of rapid tests were limited, Cyprus would be in the green category from Britain, which is our main market, meaning that Larnaca airport would have 30 flights a day from Britain alone.

“Because we can freely accept those tourists who have been vaccinated, but they will have a problem when they return to their country.”

Cyprus is currently in the UK’s amber category, a notch below green.

“Our hopes for a decent season lie with improving our epidemiolo­gical data and being placed on a green lists, especially the UK which is our largest market.

“We are still in the game though, as the majority of rival destinatio­ns are also in the amber, or in the red like Turkey,” said Rousounide­s

He expects to see tourists from the UK in early July. CHA’s Paphos chairman Thanos Michaelide­s said 34 hotels out of 103 will open by the end of May, offering 12,500 beds from 28,378.

Michaelide­s welcomed the government initiative, noting it will give the hotels the opportunit­y to come online gradually.

In Famagusta, hotels are ready to welcome local tourists, with 35 opening their doors this month.

CHA Famagusta chair, Doros Takas said by mid-June 80% of hotels in Ayia Napa and Protaras will open.

“The incentive scheme is a great opportunit­y to get ready for the high summer season, enticing local tourists with extremely attractive prices,” said Takas.

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