In 2022, there was a 27% increase in Airbnb income in the occupied territories, with the annual revenue per accommodation unit reaching 24,000 euros. Speaking before the Cypriot Parliament’s Trade Committee, Konstantinos Karakontis, the president of the Association of Self-catering Accommodation, also mentioned a projected 50% increase for 2023. The average nightly rate is €120, surpassing that of the free areas on the island.
These reports were presented in Parliament, specifically in the Commerce Committee, which discussed the absence of references to the occupation status in Cyprus on online booking platforms for hotels and tourism accommodations.
The debate also covered the possibility of tourists, using these platforms, making reservations in the occupied areas. AKEL MP Andreas Pasiourtides emphasized the need for clear indications regarding the location’s status and associated risks during the booking process. He noted that this issue falls within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and subsequently the Deputy Ministry of Tourism.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that comprehensive actions are being taken to combat illegal tourism, with diplomatic missions actively addressing the matter. The ministry’s spokesperson mentioned specific actions taken through the embassy in The Hague to address the issue on the booking.com platform. Although the inserted information may not fully satisfy Nicosia, it represents a step in the right direction.
Deputy Minister of Tourism Kostas Koumis highlighted that the problem extends beyond online platforms, as the presence of the occupied territories of Cyprus is evident in various online channels and tourism exhibitions. He emphasized that the ministry does not collaborate with any entities promoting programs in the occupied part and actively discourages such initiatives.
Koumis urged the introduction of clear labels on platforms, distinguishing between accommodations in the Republic of Cyprus’ free territories and those in the illegal entity of the pseudo-state in the north.
Marios Polyviou from the hoteliers’ federation (PASYXE) also highlighted a crucial point: Tourists booking in the occupied territories might not be provided with insurance coverage, as major insurance companies refuse to cover customers visiting these areas.