Aused about four million visitors from Russia who usually visited Cyprus now driven away by the invasion of Ukraine
After two difficult years due to the pandemic, Cypriot tourism seems to be taking off again.
However, they have found a lack of reserves that they traditionally had.
Sanctions against Russia have kept Russian tourists away from the Mediterranean island, which had a very lucrative summer season planned for the sector.
The president of the Association of Hotel Directors, Christos Anglidis: “Nobody was prepared for this huge change. It’s a difficult problem to take on, but somehow we’re trying to deal with it. We’ve limited the damage somewhat, but it’s impossible to replace such a huge number of customers.”
In 2019, Cyprus received almost 4.3 million tourists, of which more than 780,000 were Russians.
Last year, and despite the restrictions of the covid pandemic, one in four tourists came from Russia.
This year things are totally different.
The Russians and most likely the Ukrainians will not come to Cyprus and this, according to estimates by the Ministry of Tourism, represents a loss of six hundred million euros, which they will have to find elsewhere.
Panicos Muchaildirector of the Alion Beach Hotel, in Ayia Napa recapitulates: “Russians and Ukrainians used to represent 25 to 30% of our guests, while today the number of tourists from these two countries is low. On the other hand, our hotel always had a good reputation and served markets such as Central Europe, such as Switzerland, Germany, Austria and England”.
The absence of Russians is not the only challenge, as the war puzzle has many pieces. The energy crisis is only adding to the frustration of hotel businesses in Cyprus, as costs to them continue to skyrocket.
Harris Loizidespresident of the Cyprus Hotel Association underlines the rising costs: “Right now, electricity has become the second highest in the budgets after the salary cost, which is too high. There are hotels that have sent me their bills, they have to pay, just for one month, between 100,000 and 150,000 euros”.
In 2019, tourism contributed €2.68 billion, equivalent to 15% of Cyprus’s GDP.