Cyprus hopes to regain lost ground in its tourism sector from July and expects to be able to re-admit British and Russian visitors by then after weeks of lockdown, tourism minister Savvas Perdios said on Wednesday.
With hotels set to reopen on June 1, best expectations are that about 30 per cent of last year’s total of 3.98 million visitors will be received this year.
“The hit is massive, and we are trying to do our best now and do what we can for the remainder of the season. We have worked extremely hard to keep the virus in check here,” Perdios said.
The island will open on June 9 to travellers from countries including Germany, Greece and Israel. A group from mainly central Europe will be added on June 20, though Perdios said the list was being reviewed continuously.
“For our important markets like the UK, Russia and Sweden I expect in early July the situation (there) will allow their travel to Cyprus. I am quite optimistic about that,” Perdios said. Britain and Russia alone represent 55 per cent of arrivals.
Authorities have tightened health and safety protocols across the island. Contingency planning included covering the medical costs if a visitor fell ill with Covid-19 and setting up dedicated quarantine hotels, he said.
“We have taken a lot of measures… but at the same time we do understand that people want to come here on holiday so we haven’t converted Cyprus into a massive hospital,” he said.