The financial crisis battering Cyprus will result in holiday bargains, according to one of the biggest independent tour operators specialising in the Mediterranean island.
But hotel bookings in the run-up to Easter, when Cyprus is usually one of the most popular spring sun destinations for British holidaymakers, have been dismal. According to Lastminute.com, bookings to Cyprus on its site plummeted by 75% last week compared with last year as fears grew that travellers would be trapped without access to cash — although bookings began to recover this week.
One of the island’s biggest independent tour operators is now forecasting a bonanza for holidaymakers, as hotels slash prices to fill rooms left empty by Russian and German tourists.
Noel Josephides, founder and managing director of Sunvil Holidays, said: “Cyprus as a destination has always been that bit more expensive, and hasn't been able to compete on price with Turkey, Spain or Portugal. After it joined the euro, prices started to get ridiculous, with a coffee costing ¤4. What we are going to see, after the initial shock, is that prices will start to come down.”
British holidaymakers make up around one million of the island’s two million visitors. In recent years Russians have increased, and Germans as well.
“The big question is, will anyone from Germany want to go to Cyprus this year?” said Josephides. “They might not feel so welcome.”