South Cyprus tourism sector could make its first tentative steps to reopening in July, deputy tourism minister Savvas Perdios said on Tuesday but clarified that this depends on the coronavirus situation here, and in tourism generating markets.
“If everything goes well in Cyprus and abroad, we may have our first visitors at the beginning of July,” he told CNA.
He said it was still too early to make any decisions. And the opening of Cyprus as a destination will not necessarily mean the arrival of the first tourists since foreign markets may not be ready.
Bookings will be decided at the last minute, and even if some airlines and tour operators do make bookings, these could still be subject to change.
Possible tourism markets are countries where the coronavirus has been controlled and their citizens may wish to travel in the summer such as Germany, Scandinavia, Austria, Switzerland, Greece and Israel.
But for Cyprus to welcome visitors, the country of origin must have cases below a level to be decided by epidemiologists and scientists.
To the likelihood of a number of hotels staying closed this summer, he said this was a serious possibility but the decision will be taken by each business. Some may not open, others may open later. Operating costs will be higher as there will be restrictions as to how they operate.
As regards domestic tourism Perdios said that last year locals accounted for about 6-7%, and there were hopes to raise this to 10-12% this year.
Greek Cypriots cannot replace the nearly 40 million overnight stays of the four million tourists who visited Cyprus last year with an average stay of nine days each.
The deputy ministry was working on a targeted promotion campaign, while there will also be subsidized schemes and short breaks.
But it was also aware that the lockdown has had an impact on incomes. While should Greece open, Greek Cypriots may opt to go there.