UK and Swedish tour operators appear to be overcoming misgivings over a requirement that visitors present a negative Covid-19 test on arrival and are beginning to bring tourists to Cyprus, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said on Friday.
Passenger traffic at Cyprus’ two airports was 39,874 in June, 196,000 in July and 294,000 in August. Projections for September are for 300,000 passengers of whom 70 per cent are tourists, 9 per cent business travellers and the remainder people travelling to visit family and friends.
Karousos told the House Transport Committee that Jet2 has resumed bringing tourists in mid-August and Tui on September 4 while Tui Scandinavia will be starting flights from Sweden in the next few days. The cost of the test is covered by the tourists. Some tour operators have entered into agreements with private labs in the UK and Sweden, whereas in other cases tour operators share the cost with hoteliers by making a corresponding discount on the tour package, he said.
The minister also cited praise about Cyprus’ model in the London Telegraph and noted that the UK tabloid the Sun has described Cyprus as a destination with the lowest risk of compulsory quarantine for returning Britons.
Karousos said that the initiative to introduce a Cyprus Flight Pass that must be completed by all incoming passengers had been praised and the government has now undertaken an initiative within the EU for a similar system to be used in the 27 member bloc. Nicosia has also proposed investments at airports within the EU to pay for infrastructure so that lab tests can be carried out before departure – and the result given before embarkation.
Since flights resumed, 80,000 tests coronavirus tests have been carried out at Larnaca and Paphos airports, with 172 passengers testing positive. A total of 50,000 of the 80,000 tests were part of random testing with 44 positive Covid-19 cases detected.
Procedures at marinas were the same as at airports with arrivals quarantined depending on where they came from.