According to very recent projections, 2017 will be a booming year for Cyprus’ tourism industry. More than three million people are expected to visit the island from both traditional and newly developed markets.
It is a development that successive Cyprus governments were hoping to achieve. And the challenge, of course, is whether the island’s tourist infrastructure will be able to cope with such a demand for professional and quality services.
Our investigation this week shows that there is a clear possibility that quite a few establishments, mainly hotels and restaurants in various parts of Cyprus, will be either understaffed or will be hiring untrained people to serve the visitors.
The main reason for this worrying situation is the extremely bad employment terms and conditions workers, mainly foreigners, have to face when filling vital positions in hotel and restaurants at popular tourist areas.
In fact, we have confirmed that Cyprus has acquired an unflattering reputation abroad as an employer in the tourism business. Extremely low pay, long working hours and six-day weeks, discourages qualified, professional staff to seek employment in the tourist sector here.
There is also a concern that hotels and other establishments won’t have the number of beds collectively necessary to accommodate all visitors expected to arrive during the long hot summer season.
The above are not just hitches that can be easily brushed away by the local tourism industry. They are serious concerns that dent Cyprus’ image, presenting the country as a place where quantity is more important than quality.
Recently, out of circumstances that had nothing to do with local efforts to improve the touristic product, the island enjoyed a healthy increase in affluent visitors. If the industry really wants these tourists to come back, they urgently need to work on providing them with quality services.