Cyprus Ho­tel As­so­ci­a­tion

EME

EME Outlook - - Cyprus -

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.

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