Before the start of the summer holidays, the Trade Committee expects the draft law on the Regulation of the Establishment and Operation of Hostels to be passed. The proposal was submitted by MPs Kyriakos Hatzigiannis and Chrysis Pantelidis, in consultation with the Ministry of Tourism, to fill the legislative gap concerning this type of accommodation. At the same time, the discussion on the bill on glamping, which is promoted for voting by the Plenary Session of the Parliament, was completed.
During the discussion, the two issues concerning the tourism product of Cyprus , the session was attended by the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Savvas Perdios, who congratulated the members of Parliament for the vigilance they showed, in order to promote the bill regarding the hostels.
In statements after the meeting, the Deputy Minister of Tourism said that the preparation for the bill began 3-4 months ago and congratulated all the parties, who, as he said, worked very quickly in this direction, so that the proposal is ready. for submission before the Parliament.
“This is a new market for Cyprus”, said Mr. Perdios, emphasizing that “we have to see where the youth is moving around the world, who are looking for accommodation in hostels”. He also mentioned that many internet searches for Cyprus are related to city breaks and this will also contribute to the number of visitors to the hostels.
He added that the law will also promote the upgrading of hostels and this is important for the image of Cyprus and explained that, with the institutionalization, hostels will be able to obtain permits, so the owners will also benefit from grant or incentive plans of the Ministry of Tourism. . “The purpose is not just to legislate, however, for the owners to issue permits, but to have a framework with specific levels and for every entrepreneur to have an incentive to upgrade,” said the Undersecretary.
Mr. Perdios also referred to the bill on glamping, after the end of the article debate in the Committee. “I believe that we are in the final stage of approving the bill, which also follows the new trends and is a product that we will introduce, at the initiative of the Ministry, and concerns both the youth and people who want to enjoy high-quality nature holidays.” , he stated, pointing out that the goal is for this issue to be over before the Parliament closes for the holidays.
Asked about this, Mr. Perdios said that “there are several quality initiatives by individuals, which give us the impetus to proceed with certifications and legislation on these issues” and referred specifically to the case of theme parks, for which there was no single framework certification by the state. “We have now issued a certification mark for theme parks,” he said.
During the discussion in the Committee, the representative of the Hostels Owners Association welcomed the submission of the bill, saying that through it will be achieved the guarantee of minimum operating standards and enrichment of the tourist image of Cyprus. He pointed out, however, that this law should ensure that the owners of such accommodation can continue to offer low-cost accommodation, once the operation has been instituted.
The Chairman of the Committee, MP of DISY and one of the rapporteurs of the bill, Kyriakos Hatzigiannis, speaking about its content spoke about an innovation of the Trade Committee and thanked for his contribution and the MP of DIKO, Chryssi Pantelidis, as well as the Deputy Minister of Tourism. He said that in 15 days the article-by-article discussion on the proposal will begin and the legislative gap will soon be filled.
He also announced that the debate on the Glamping bill has been completed, so that it can be led to the Plenary Session of the Parliament. “It is an innovative service, which is part of the broader tourism strategy that our country needs,” he said, adding that “with these two pieces of legislation, we are taking steps forward to have a comprehensive tourist service, which is not limited to specific areas, but to distribute the tourist product throughout Cyprus “.
In his statements after the meeting, the DIKO MP and one of the rapporteurs of the bill, Chrysis Pantelidis, stated that the proposal aims to fill the legislative gap concerning the hostel sector, which, as he said, already contributes to the enrichment of tourism in Cyprus. He explained that the hostels attract a very different audience of tourists, mainly young people, who choose to travel the world with a suitcase on their shoulders and thus add to the tourist income of the countries they visit.
As Mr. Pantelidis said, if the law is passed, it will ensure “conditions for the development of a healthy competitive and quality environment in tourism.” He explained that the proposal provides for the creation of a register for registration of hostels, which will meet specific specifications for services they provide, but also for safety and health of their visitors.
Answering questions from journalists, Mr. Pantelidis stated that there were about 25 hostels in Cyprus before the pandemic, which are now around 20. He stressed that the operation of the hostels is not competitive with other accommodations, as they concern the so-called backpackers, who choose cheap airline tickets and use public transport. He expressed his satisfaction for the support of the initiative by the University of Cyprus, as well as the private universities, since the hostels also serve Erasmus students.
Responding to whether the proposal can be put to a vote by July, Mr. Pantelidis said that this debate started in February, with an ex-officio issue before the Commission and a distance was covered since then, a comparative study was done by the Parliament on what applies in other countries, the Ministry of Tourism has been constructive from the beginning and the Owners Association also wants such an arrangement. “That is why we are at a very advanced stage and I believe that the goal set by the President of the Commission for voting before the summer holidays is achievable,” he said.
EDEK, Elias Myrianthous, in his statements after the meeting welcomed the conclusion of the debate on the Glamping bill for luxury camping sites, saying that “with the regulation and regulations as examined, and taking into account that its proposals have been introduced in the bill Committee on Trade, this will give impetus to this tourist product and the creation of camping sites, both luxury and other classes, which will mainly strengthen the mountainous, rural and remote areas of Cyprus. In closing, he expressed the belief that this product will also contribute to the promotion of Cyprus as an attractive tourist destination.