Cyprus Mail

Coronavirus: controversial bill for vouchers in lieu of refunds is approved by parliament

With 34 votes in favour and only one against, the plenary approved on Friday a controversial plan for businesses to issue vouchers instead of cash refunds to tourists and customers for cancelled bookings.

The plan was conceived around the beginning of May to help protect the hard-hit tourism sector from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic that has brought global travel to an abrupt halt and specifically from companies which, due to the absence of tourism, are faced with serious financial issues.

In an announcement, the finance ministry said that the new regulation covers travel agents, hotels, cruise companies and car rental companies.

The law also stipulates government guarantees for €87m, that will be reserved to compensate tourists in case Cypriot business that issue vouchers become insolvent and therefore unable to receive or serve them.

Although approved by parliament, the bill is expected to draw criticism from the EU, as it directly opposes a European law which grants tourists the right to choose between a cash refund or a voucher to be used for a future package holiday.

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