For 2022 alone, there has been a 27% increase in Airbnb income in the occupied territories, with the annual amount per accommodation reaching 24 thousand. Speaking before the 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 euros, surpassing that of the free areas.
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 tourist accommodations. The debate also covered the possibility of tourists, using these platforms, to make 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 booking.com. Although the inserted information may not fully satisfy, 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 pseudo-state is evident in various online channels and tourism exhibitions. He emphasized that the Deputy Ministry does not collaborate with any entities promoting programs in the occupied territories and actively discourages such initiatives. Koumis urged the introduction of clear labels on platforms, distinguishing between accommodations in the Cypriot Republic and those in the illegal entity of the pseudo-state.
Marios Polyviou from PASYXE 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. The issue is slated for further discussion at the next Trade Committee meeting in January.