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Cyprus – How the heatwave is changing tourists' plans

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Hot temperatures change tourist plans – Last minute bookings affected

Κyπρος - Πoς ο καyσωνας αλλα&zeta

The development should motivate the tourism operators to proceed with a redesign, in order to promote tourism more in the months after the summer.

Κyπρος - Πoς ο καyσ&omega ;νας αλλαζει τα πλανα των τουρισ&tau ?o&nu?

By Maria Herakleous

Can prolonged heat waves, such as the one we are going through now, but also the weather conditions of the destination in general, affect the volume of tourist traffic it receives? This is a question that has already been the subject of an investigation by the European Travel Commission, the results of which are clear. 30% of travelers also choose a destination based on the destination's weather conditions. The survey also showed that 21% of the sample prioritizes destinations based on how much they protect their natural and cultural heritage and on the environmental footprint of the trip. For example, a portion of travelers avoid traveling by planes and ships, so they choose closer destinations. Off-peak travel also gains ground at the same time. For example, this year more Europeans have planned trips in the spring and early summer, with trips between April and May increasing by 6% compared to 2022. Also according to a study by the same organization, the number of European tourists , planning to travel to the Mediterranean in the summer, has decreased by 10% compared to the same period last year. This is a percentage that caters to travelers looking for less crowded destinations and milder temperatures. As a result, we have seen demand for summer holidays increase in destinations with cooler temperatures such as Iceland, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland and Bulgaria.

Certainly, this is a phenomenon with an impact on most destinations, whether positive or negative. But what happens in the case of Cyprus? Indeed, the weather conditions on the island change. Thus, the summer season was inaugurated with rainy days and increased levels of dust in the atmosphere, while since last week, according to the Meteorological Service, we have been going through a period of prolonged heat. Inevitably, the instability of the weather also affects tourism performance.

Last minute

Although there is no talk of cancellations, the prolonged heatwave seems to be affecting last-minute bookings. This is a large percentage of tourists, mainly individual tourists, who will more easily change their destination, based on the current image at the time of their booking, as opposed to bookings made through travel agents and tour operators. According to PASYXE estimates, this is a large percentage, exceeding 50% of all arrivals. According to the general director of PASYXE Filokypro Roussounidis, the fact that the weather conditions will affect the last minute bookings is expected to affect the performance of the season by extension, since the intensity of these bookings will determine the performance of this season. The picture being conveyed however is that, at least at this stage, last minute bookings are down. But possibly we will see an increase in rates for the months of October and November and the decrease in July will translate into an increase in rates for the autumn period. But the numbers are satisfactory enough, as reported. In particular, it is estimated that July will close with an occupancy in hotels of around 80%. Hope is expressed and based on the indications that the months of August and September will be a reflection of July, and possibly move to better levels. This is in line with the initial estimates of the association, that yes it is better than last year but at least this year, tourism performance will not reach that of 2019, the record year for tourism, as Mr. Rousounidis points out.

The latest research by the European Travel Commission showed a decrease in the number of tourists who will travel to the Mediterranean this year.

Families and 50+

In addition to last-minute bookings, customers aged 50+ and families with children are more vulnerable to weather conditions (target groups targeted by Cyprus through the National Tourism Strategy). As pointed out by STEK and the general director Chrysaimilis Psilogeni, this development and the changes in weather conditions due to climate change, should mobilize tourism operators, so that they start to promote more strongly the months of September and October which have clearly milder temperatures, however, are still offered for sun and sea tourism, in addition to the other forms of tourism offered. This redesign should begin immediately.

Conference in October

Meanwhile, on Monday the holding of a pan-Cypriot conference entitled “Climate change and tourism”, which will possibly be held on October 17, at the conference center in Nicosia, was blocked. In the context of the conference, the subject of climate change, its effects on tourism as well as measures to manage the situation and strengthen sustainable development will be discussed. The conference is organized by the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Association. In addition to the holding of the conference, according to the latest information from the competent deputy ministry, the extension of the tourist season and the promotion of the destination either at the beginning or at the end of the summer season are promoted, while other forms of tourism are also promoted, such as rural tourism in order to acquire and these areas dynamically and on the one hand to achieve the spatial expansion of tourism, as a preventive measure for the phenomenon of overtourism.

Source: www.kathimerini.com.cy

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