Archive for the ‘Cyprus’ Category

AirBnB bookings fall off a cliff

April 9, 2020

With cities in lockdown, airports closed, borders closed, airlines grounded, bookings dried up, AirBnB hosts are bleating at having to refund bookings.

Sorry, we should not feel.

AirBnB is an unregulated sector, it is destroying cities, people being driven out of cities as apartments are let on AirBnB.

AirBnB is not the myth they would like us to believe, someone letting out a room occasionally, or maybe their home when they go away. It is apartments being bought, often whole apartment blocks, tenants evicted, or forced out by high rents. These are the people complaining, who are losing money, who are now trying to offload their properties onto the market.

AirBnB hosts would be operating illegally (nothing new there). Cyprus is in lockdown, hotels not allowed to open. Athens in lockdown, need a permit to go out, which has to be applied for.

EasyJet and other airlines grounded.

Airlines have to refund within seven days, tour companies within fourteen days. Why do AirBnB think they are the exception? Once again shows this sector must be regulated.

AirBnB greed, greedy hosts.

If AirBnB fails, excellent news. It is destroying cities with unregulated lets, driving tenants out of city centres.

With the country in lockdown, police and politicians and NHS staff are pleading with people to stay home, not visit the countryside, coastal resorts, police roadblocks in place, AirBnB is encouraging flouting of the lockdown by offering lets in the very places encouraged not to visit.

Hywel Williams a North Wales MP has called on AirBnB to “identify and delete” any home owners found advertising properties on their site as “Covid-19 retreats”.

Plaid Cymru’s Hywel Williams claims the online platform was guilty of “inexplicable and reckless inaction” after some holiday homes were offered up as safe bolt holes from the coronavirus outbreak sweeping the UK.

The Arfon MP says a number of properties across Snowdonia are still listed on AirBnB as available to rent ahead of the Easter weekend – and almost two weeks after the Government introduced laws to put the UK into lockdown in a bid to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

There were also reports of homes being let to tourists via AirBnB in Denbighshire and Anglesey.

There should be no bailout of AirBnB properties. Any rescue package would be to make the properties available to homeless, then let as social housing.

AirBnB is a zombie company kept alive on unsustainable debt. It has followed the route of too many zombie companies, hype to artificially inflate the value, vulture capitalists pour in money to inflate still further, then dump on the stock market for unsuspecting mugs to buy shares before the company is found to be worthless. AirBnB has been found out before it could dump on the stock market.

Use FairBnB.

Cyprus hotels not open until end of season?

April 8, 2020

Comments by Head of the Paphos branch of the Cyprus Hotels Association (Pasyxe) Thanos Michaelides that hotels in Cyprus will open any time soon is a classic example of how out of touch and clueless hoteliers in Cyprus, as always incredibly short sighted, no ability to think long term.

Tourist sector has been on the decline for years, attracts the dregs of the tourist industry, drives away the quality tourists, all-inclusive brings in the dregs of the tourist industry, drives away quality tourists, little money flows into the local economy.

Tourists sector is more than a few greedy shortsighted hoteliers, it is bars, restaurants, coffee shops, water sports, car hire, boat trips, all of which have seen a dramatic loss of income in recent years thanks to all-inclusive hotels.

The opportunity should be taken, which was not taken when Thomas Cook collapsed, to restructure the tourist sector. Focus on quality, fewer tourists, quality tourists, end all-inclusive hotels which bring in the dregs of the tourist industry with little money flowing into the local economy, tour companies no more than 20% of bookings, with payment made in full at end of every month.

Reliant upon two countries, over reliance.

UK will be in lockdown until at least end of May. FCO advice on no foreign travel indefinite. No one has any money. Consumer confidence at record low. Airlines grounded, government not inclined to bailout, strong public opposition to bailout. Stelios Haji-Ioannou has warned easyJet will run out of money by August.

Russia in lockdown, EU borders closed.

Before anything happens, before any influx of tourists, Cyprus would have to come out of lockdown and be coronavirus free for at least a month.

Europe and US are current epicentres of covid-19. Tuesday, UK recorded highest daily mortality, 786 covid-19 deaths, total in excess of 6000. And that is only deaths recorded in hospitals, the actual number estimated NOS to be 70% higher.

The earliest Cyprus open to visitors would be end of season.

If Cyprus open to visitors, would have to be slowly, slowly, screening at airports, means to quarantine, hotels only 50% capacity maximum, strict enforcement of social distancing within hotels, dining, sunbeds spaced well apart, hotels where packed in like sardines on sunbeds not permitted to open, screening of everyone every time they enter a hotel, saunas, gyms, massage not open, moot point if pools open, if open, strict enforcement on numbers in the pool, showering on entering and leaving the pool, sunbeds cleaned every evening.

How do we get from lockdown, not allowed out, social distancing, keep at least 2 metres apart, no association with other than ones own household, avoid public transport, to travel through a busy airport, packed in like sardines for four hours in a confined place breathe in the shared air, packed like sardines in the hotel grounds?

At least two airlines, BA and an American airline the cabin crew have tested positive for covid-19.

The turn around of easyJet on landing with the crew tasked with a quick tidy of the plane is not sufficient to decontaminate the plane. Cyprus needs to have in place an enforced decontamination regime, with heavy penalty if fail to comply. All aircraft decontaminated on landing before can take on board passengers.

Insurance is essential, and a legal requirement if travelling within EU.

Many insurance companies have pulled travel insurance, others have excluded covid-19 cover and hiked the price.

Would Cyprus authorities be offering free insurance cover? And if they did, locals would have a legitimate argument, why not us, why are we not covered?

Airlines are grounded. Lufthansa is to permanently decommission more than 40 of its aircraft and axe its Germanwings low-cost arm, warning it will take years for the airline industry to return to its pre-coronavirus peak in passenger numbers.

FCO travel advice, no overseas travel indefinite.

UK lockdown likely to last into May.

Hoteliers need to get their act together and live in the real world, look long term, not always short term fast buck.

A start would be to offer regulars special deals for end of this year year and for next year.

It will not be return to business as usual, but nor should it be.

We have a larger crisis looming, Climate Emergency.

 

Cyprus finance minister economy will shrink by five percent

April 3, 2020

… there will be a recession and GDP could contract by about 5 per cent. — Cyprus Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides

Cyprus Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides has opened himself up to ridicule by claiming Cyprus economy will shrink by about five per cent.

If we look at European countries in lockdown, with most sectors shut down, economies will shrink by far more than five percent.

Only five percent with total collapse of Cyprus tourist industry?

Or is this a tacit admission that the only beneficiaries of the tourist sector were a handful of hoteliers and the foreign tour companies?

Before coronavirus crisis Cyprus tourist industry was close to collapse, all-inclusive hotels bringing in the dregs of the tourist industry, quality tourists driven away, with little money flowing into the local economy.

One only had to walk the streets and observe the empty bars and restaurants and coffee shops.

EasyJet has grounded its fleet. British Airways suspended its operation at Gatwick.

Tui was in debt to the tune of 2 billion euros before the coronavirus pandemic.

UK has said it will not bailout out the airline industry. A petition before UK Parliament is calling upon the government to not bailout the industry, instead transition to a Green New Deal.

Airlines and tour company tui are dragging their feet to pay compensation for cancelled flights and holidays. Trying to palm clients off with worthless vouchers.

Why have hotels on the front page of their websites no coronavirus information? Why are they taking bookings when not likely to be open, when Cyprus in lockdown, airports closed?

The rare exception Sunrise hotels:

Important Announcement for COVID-19
In accordance with the new measures taken by the Cyprus Government, all Sunrise Hotels will be closed until 30/04/2020.
For direct bookings we are offering the flexibility to amend the travel dates without any cancellation fee. For further information or assistance please contact us at: reservations@sunrise.com.cy.
For other bookings made through Tour Operators or Travel Agents, please contact them for alternative solutions.

When Thomas Cook collapsed, the opportunity was not taken to restructure the tourist industry. Far from grasping the opportunity the collapse of Thomas Cook offered, the worst of all possible worlds, tui was allowed to grab a greater share of the market, bad for hoteliers, bad for tourists.

The opportunity must not be lost this time around.

The focus must be on fewer tourists, quality tourists.

Improve quality everywhere, bars, restaurants, coffee shops, hotels.

Shut down the noisy bars that attract the dregs of the tourist industry.

Replace with traditional tavernas and coffee shops. It would be difficult to find good examples without visiting Plaka in Athens. Paul’s Coffee Roasters and Lazaris (though not for coffee) near St Lazarus Church in the back streets of Larnaca set high standards, take a pride in what they do, as does Nick’s Coffee Bike outside Larnaca Marina, but these are the rare exceptions, not the norm, oasis amidst the dross. Once the norm in Cyprus, until a race to the bottom to attract custom from all-inclusive hotels, a race no one can win.

Grecian Park and Crystal Springs set high standards, few hotels come anywhere near.

Outlaw all-inclusive hotels that are killing the local economy.

Restrict tour operator bookings to less than 20% of bookings, encourage direct bookings. Tour operators forced to settle their accounts at the end of every month.

Reliance on euro bonds is a non-starter as has already been vetoed by Germany and Holland. I would refer to critical comment by Yanis Varoufakis.

Recommendations for the short term.

Furlough staff as in UK with government covering 80% of wage, with a cap of 2,500 euros per month.

A similar scheme for the self employed, 80% of average earning over last three years.

Grants and soft loans to small businesses, but with strings attached, quality has to improve.

For hotels, only to groups of five hotels or less. No bailout of large chains.

No bailout for corporate chains.

In China, one man with covid-19 travelling on a bus, infected nine fellow passengers.

Now imagine on a plane with one person with covid-19, passing through a busy airport, then getting on public transport.

Ever travelled on the packed-in-like-sardines 101/102 local bus that runs Paralimni – Protaras – Ayia Napa? Now imagine one person on that bus with covid-19.

Until such time that Cyprus has temperature screening at airports, facilities to detain, test, quarantine, temperature screening of everyone every time they enter a hotel, cannot even contemplate opening Cyprus to tourists. And even then only for hotels, not apartments.

In absence of such measures why are hotels taking bookings for as early as Easter? And these bookings cannot be from within the country as Cyprus is in lockdown.

EU has closed its borders for the foreseeable future.

No Russians, no one from outside of EU.

Countries have also closed their borders.

Israel closed its borders weeks ago, Russia has closed its borders with strict self-isolating and heavy fines if venture out.

As always, Cyprus grasping at straws rather than doing what it takes, hard graft and addressing systemic problems within the tourist industry.

EU will come to the rescue, Brits will come to the rescue, Russians will come to the rescue.

Latest was, Chinese dirty money will come to the rescue.

With Chinese tourists it overlooks one very simple fact, Chinese tourists are cultural tourists, hence Athens, Oxford, Cambridge. Low life bars in Cyprus,  somehow I think not.

FCO advice, do not travel overseas. Lockdown in UK for six months.

Speaking on Channel 4 News, former WHO Director-General Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland has said that she expects coronavirus crisis to last at least 18 months, until such time as a vaccine is available.

Is Cyprus foolish enough to open its borders and risk many covid-19 deaths?

One advantage of being an island, easy to control entry to the country.

Europe the epicentre of coronavirus.

Spain and Italy the death toll exceeds that of China. UK, slow to act, daily mortality rate is fast approaching that of Spain, Russia not far behind.

Cyprus would have to be very slow to open its borders to visitors from Europe. Temperature screening at airports, with facilities to isolate, trace and quarantine. Only hotels open. Temperature screen of everyone each and every time they enter the hotel. Hotels restricted to maximum of half capacity, gyms, saunas, massage not open, social distancing, dining well spaced apart, same true of sunbeds. Moot point if pools open. If open, strict limit on numbers in the pool, strict enforcement of shower before and after use of the pool. Sunbeds thoroughly cleaned every evening. Hotels where clients packed in like sardines on sunbeds, not permitted to open.

Any hotel where cases of coronavirus, quarantined for a month.

Larnaca, minimum of 50% of the sunbeds removed from the beach.

Oh and not forgetting, oil and gas will come to the rescue, conveniently ignoring oil at $10 a barrel and Climate Emergency will destroy Cyprus tourist industry, too hot, rising sea levels and storms will wash away beaches and flood Larnaca.

Covid-19 is not the only crisis, the other is Climate Emergency.

We cannot return to businesses as usual.

Tsipoura at Spartiatis

November 5, 2019

Monday, two weeks ago, tsipoura at Spartiatis overlooking Konnos Bay.

End of season, many of the tables already removed, few diners.

Spartiatis a seafood restaurant in a quiet location overlooking Konnos Bay

Christening Ayia Anna

November 5, 2019

Sunday, two weeekends ago, a christening at Ayia Anna in Ayia Napa.

Three priests, two Greek Orthodox, one Russian Orthodox, parents Russian and Greek-Cypriot, godmother Greek-Cypriot.

The godmother organises everything, at the ceremony holds the child.

Various incantations, then the child is undressed and baptised, twice in the water then full immersion, then annointed with olive oil, a change of clothing. Two girls walk around the font.

No one is allowed to touch the child.

Two days later, the child washed and a change of clothes.

An interesting church. A balcony runs around, at the back, a second balcony.

After the ceremony, a celebratory buffet lunch at which parents and godmother great all the guests. The guests in turn presented with a cake and an icon of the patron saint of the child.

Ayia Napa Medieval Carnival

November 4, 2019

Following afternoon trip to Laranca, Intercity Bus could not go as far as the main square outside the Monastery where I would change for the local bus, roads closed for Ayia Napa Medieval Carnival.

A procession through the street, followed by a concert in the square in front of the monastery.

Cappuccino Paul’s Coffee Roasters

November 4, 2019

Following a disgusting coffee at Lazaris Bakery, to Paul’s Coffee Roasters for a decent coffee.

I just had time for a small cappuccino. I would argue only one size, a correct size. The larger size I have had in the was better. I found this too be weak and insipid.

Had I arrived earlier, I would have found Paul roasting coffee. He was in the process of weighing and bagging coffee.

I asked of the cold brew. Concentrated to then water down is not the way to make quality cold brew.

Ayia Napa International Sculpture Park

November 4, 2019

Change bus from local bus to Intercity Bus en route to Larnaca.

Time to walk through the sculpture park.

Tsipoura at Spartiatis

October 31, 2019

Mid-October, excellent tsipoura at Spartiatis, a quiet location overlooking Konnos Bay.

A very hot night, gale blowing, thundersorm out to sea.

Starter undbidden cougettes thinly sliced deep fried served with bread. Bread served in tradional manner fresh baked, in a basket, wrapped in a tea towel.

Tsipoaka ie sea bream excellent.

Followed by ice cream and figs.

Fresh figs cooked in a pan with syrup, cinnamaon and a little water.

Lamps were blowing in the wind.

Spartiatis almost enpty. Everywhere hit by al-inclusive hotels killing the local economy.

Fleeting visit Ayia Napa International Sculputure Park

October 30, 2019

En route to Larnaca to visit Larnaca International Food Festival, local bus to Ayia Napa, change to Intercity Bus to Larnaca.

Time to alight from local bus, walk through Ayia Napa International Sculputure Park to pick up Intercity Bus to Larnaca.