Looking Forward to 'Sunnier' Times
With tourism ‘on pause’ during the Covid-19 global pandemic, Larnaka region will be a little later in revealing its new hotels and additional holiday accommodation, but CEO of Sunnyseeker Hotels and Board Member of the Larnaka Tourism Board – Mr Marios Polyviou – tells us what we can expect when we are ‘open for business’ again.
Sunnyseeker Hotels is the largest hotel group in Larnaka region and opened the region’s first hotel by an international brand (the Radisson Blu). The group currently operates six hotels and serviced apartments and has an additional three hotels in the pipeline branded under the Radisson, Intercontinental and Best Western chains.
As CEO, Mr Polyviou had no doubts of where he wanted to focus the company’s portfolio, as he explains: “We selected Larnaka for two major reasons; first is our love for Larnaka, and secondly, because we strongly believe that Larnaka is the island’s region that has the greatest potential for development.”
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the island’s hotels suspended operations from March 20, 2020 as part of the plans to halt the spread of the virus. Mr Polyviou says this is a testing time for the industry – especially with the company’s original plans to open its additional three hotels for the summer 2020 season.
“The hotel Industry in general is facing a very difficult period with a lot of challenges ahead of us. We predict that the best-case scenario for this year is a decrease of a minimum of 50% for incoming tourists, although the impact will be felt more in some regions.”
Sunnyseeker Hotels had planned to open the new Hotel Indigo and Best Western Premier Collection in April 2020. Mr Polyviou says that the plan is to now officially open them as soon as the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.
As the Radisson Beach Resort Larnaca is not completed yet, there is a possibility to postpone its opening for a few months, but the CEO says that no final decision has been taken yet.
On a personal level, Mr Polyviou also has his favourite elements of Larnaka, which he too is missing during the restriction of movements, including an early morning walk along the Finikoudes promenade and the spots that he personally recommends to visitors; the stretch of the promenade that extends along the Piale Pashia walkway, which Mr Polyviou says is filled with views: “The area offers visitors amazing views of Larnaka Bay, and the scenery is so different from morning to afternoon and equally beautiful in any season.”
But Mr Polyviou believes that despite the hardships of the pandemic for both the industry and holidaymakers, once tourism is open for business again, there will be positive changes as a result: “Beyond the traditional hospitality and natural beauty of Larnaka, our visitors this year will experience the new measures that the hotels and the whole industry will impose for the safety of both the visitors and our employees - which are of ultimate importance to us.”