Thanos Michaelides raises the alarm over staff shortages warning ‘hotels will close’

Cyprus Hotels Association President Thanos Michaelides has described staff shortages as the main threat to the hotel industry, warning that, if appropriate measures are not taken "we risk having hotels operating at a sub-optimal level closing or reducing the facilities they offer.”

Giving a keynote address at the 45th Cyprus Hotel Summit & Exhibition in Limassol on 23 February, Michaelides continued that this could, in the long-term lead to the downgrading of Cyprus’ position as a quality and value-for-money destination.

Michaelides also expressed his concerns regarding the possible loss of the Israeli market, its second largest, which, he noted would be following Cyprus in 2022 losing visitors from Russia, its second largest market in terms of tourism at the time.

In addition to the external crises, the president of the Cyprus Hotels Association also listed a number of internal challenges among which the lack of labor force, high interest rates, high energy costs, and that of the transition to a more sustainable model, as well as and digital transformation.

However, the industry has managed, with great difficulty, to overcome the obstacles and in 2023 there was almost a record number of tourist arrivals in Cyprus, he pointed out.

Michaelides also, however, noted that the "number of tourist arrivals alone does not equal the same number of overnight stays in our hotels".

In particular, "our hotel occupancy figures show that there is a growing gap between arrivals and occupancy rates," he noted, explaining that the two main reasons are the growing flow of tourists to the occupied areas of Cyprus and the increase in demand for unlicensed short-term rental units.

"In 2024 we must rise to the challenge of the problems we face and again find new markets and better manage existing source markets to move the industry forward," he said, informing the audience that close cooperation with the Deputy Ministry of Tourism and Hermes Airports to further develop new markets by launching new routes that will lead to better connectivity with markets that have the potential to grow and increase the flow of tourists to Cyprus and minimise dependence on existing source markets.

Finally, he promised that hoteliers are ready to commit to a transition to a future-proof model and reiterated the suggestion that a study be carried out for the State to examine the state of hotel assets and assess the cost and time required to upgrade them to the new standards.

"We will continue to take steps towards the transition and at the same time we will take all the necessary measures for our cooperation between the public and private sectors," he concluded.

The 45th Cyprus Hotel Summit & Exhibition was presented by the Cyprus Hotels Association.

(Source: InBusinessNews)

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