Arrivals from Britain to Cyprus may be allowed sometime in July, Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios said on Thursday.
In an interview with Sky News, he said excluding the UK from the list of countries allowed to have visitors to the island was purely an epidemiological decision based on scientific data.
“I expect this will change in the next few weeks as we reevaluate the situation every week,” Perdios said.
The UK is traditionally Cyprus’ biggest source of tourists.
With an improvement in the situation in the UK, there is a very real possibility the country can be included in the category of countries allowed to travel to Cyprus, the minister said. This could take place sometime in July in conjunction with preparations the island is undertaking.
Allowing British tourists to the island may come with a requirement that they have a certificate proving they have tested negative for Covid-19.
Holiday comparison site TravelSupermarket showed that Cyprus was the ninth most popular searched holiday destination for the British in the last two weeks of May. Research from Clickstay, an online holiday rentals platform, shows that holidaymakers have an increased confidence in travelling to Cyprus; in the past week, 21 per cent of page views on Clickstay have been for Cyprus villas and apartments, compared to just 7 per cent for the same period last year.
Meanwhile around 20 airlines have so far included Cyprus in their flight schedules, mainly from July onwards, airport operator Hermes said Thursday. Senior marketing and communications director Maria Kouroupi said some airlines planned to start after June 20 while others, which connect Cyprus with Greece, will start on June 9, the day the government is plans to reopen airports.
“A lot of things will depend on the epidemiological situation both in the airlines’ countries and Cyprus,” she told the Cyprus News Agency. “Many countries still have travel notices in place discouraging their citizens to travel in the summer while others have other restrictions.”
Kouroupi said there was an ongoing evaluation of the situation in all countries and flight schedules would be adjusted accordingly.
Clarifying mixed press reports on tourists arriving to the island, speaking to the Cyprus Mail, Perdios said that reports in British press that the government will cover the holiday costs of tourists on the island if they test positive for the coronavirus are simply not true.
The government will cover the hospitalisation costs of whoever tests positive. Their close family and / or contacts will be taken to a government designated quarantine facility and remain there for 14 days. This will also ensure the hotel at which they were staying would not have to close.
These costs will be covered by the government but any private payments that a tourist may have made or prepaid such as accommodation or flights is up to the individuals to arrange with their travel agent. Perdios clarified this would not be reimbursed and tourists need to take into account that if they test positive, they must quarantine on the island for 14 days, running the risk of missing their return flight.
Rescheduling the flight will be a cost they will undertake themselves and they will not be allowed to return if they have tested positive and the 14 days are not up.
Countries have been classified into categories A or B, a list which will be regularly updated.
As of June 20, countries from category A will not need a health certificate for Covid-19.
Travelers from category B countries are required to have a PCR test certificate at the source country 72 hours prior to travel. If their country is unable to make a PCR testing widely available to the public, , tourists will be subject to a compulsory Covid-19 test upon arrival, at a cost of €60 per person.
Visitors will cover the cost of the test themselves.
Until the test results of their test are ready, tourists will be asked to isolate in their accommodation. Test results are usually available within 24 hours.