Cyprus Hotel Association
Hoteliers National Trade Union, Cyprus Hotel Association represents the vast majority of hotel establishments and other licensed tourist accommodation units across the country.
With the key aims of not only protecting the interests of such establishments, but also of promoting tourism development more widely, Loizides exclusively explains the role of the organisation and provides insight into current campaigns and trends related to the country’s tourism.
STANDING AS THE EMEO: Firstly, can you talk me through the origins of the Cyprus Hotel Association, how it came about, and its initial vision? HL:
Having been founded 82 years ago, we have been around even before national independence was gained and the Republic of Cyprus was formed. Throughout our history, we have always stood to represent the interests of hotel owners, now serving the vast majority of such businesses on the island. We act as both a lobbying group for hotels and a consultant on tourism related issues for the government.
EMEO: In recent years, how has the Cyprus Hotel Association progressed, and how has this been manifested in the country’s key regions? HL:
In 2013 in particular, when all the sectors of the economy were under pressure as a result of the banking crisis, our industry was growing. This demonstrated to the government the positive input that hotels had to offer, and we continue to cooperate on this even today. In 2017 we have reached, indeed, a record year, both in terms of tourist arrivals and in the revenues generated from tourist activities. The spread of the arrivals during the season helped us a lot with the extension of the season which was one of our strategic targets back in 2013. The President has also said that he wants to bring work even closer with hoteliers, providing a seal of approval for the work that we’re doing. This has included mention of modernising the industry, referring to both plans to upgrade hotels and better introduce the use of technology to the sector – two things that we are trying to champion at the moment.
EMEO: How can the hotel industry take steps to help attract new kinds of visitors during different seasons? HL:
By remaining open during the off-season or winter months, combined with a new variety of investments from hotels into things such as conference rooms and themed-restaurants, the hotel industry is increasingly ensuring that it remains successful all year round.
Currently, statistics suggest that tourism increases are much greater during the low season than the high season, something that is testament to this work.
Equally, we try to ensure that hotels remain in line with the national tourism strategy that is outlined by the government in order to remain relevant with national promotion. There have been a lot of discussions about sport tourism and how we can maximise the potential of our archaeological and cultural tourism, for example.
Combined, these are all things that will allow us to excel in both the on- and off-season, offering a multitude of different reasons to visit Cyprus on a year-round basis.
EMEO: Can you provide an example of how you’re targeting certain market segments? HL:
We’ve implemented a long-term vision to try and diversify the Cyrus experience for high-end visitors. City of Dreams is currently constructing a major casino complex that will include a hotel of 500 beds, a shopping mall, conference centre and entertainment centre.
We needed to have a complete package that would make this casino a destination. This is what City of Dreams is aiming for and I think from what I have seen so far, it will achieve that.
Similarly, we have five-star hotels and marinas spread across the country that are effective in attracting high- end tourists, with plenty more under construction in pursuit of better targeting and catering to this industry segment.
EMEO: How are hoteliers helping to support the national economy? HL:
We recognise that seasonal employment is not a stable job for many Cypriots, and that many people need a safer, more career-orientated position. To this end, we have tried to promote the hotel industry as a promising career prospect for young people.
Currently there is a shortage of labour for this, but demand is high, and salaries have gone up around 20 percent in the past year – a statistic that should serve to attract more people to the industry.
Equally, the multiplier effect is huge, one of the highest of all industries in Cyprus in fact. A study that we conducted showed that only around 10-15 percent of any one hotel’s revenue remains within the hotel itself, with the rest going out to suppliers, employees, banks, authorities, utilities providers and alike.