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Coronavirus: Hoteliers welcome lockdown end, say next few weeks decisive

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The next few weeks will be decisive for the tourism sector for the remainder of 2021, even though indications so far suggest that both May and June will see limited business, the Association of Cyprus Tourist Enterprises (Stek) said on Thursday.

However, Stek welcomed the lifting of the domestic lockdown as a “first step for a gradual return to normality, especially in conjunction with the increasing vaccination rates.”

“Equally important is the vaccination of hotel employees and of people working in the wider tourism industry,” the statement continued.

“We are particularly pleased that from May 10 Cypriots will be allowed to stay in hotels, even if only under certain conditions at the beginning.

“The lifting of the lockdown will also result in an increase of foreign arrivals in the island, as the government also announced that from May 10 Cyprus will be accepting vaccinated tourists from some very important countries for our industry.”

Stek particularly welcomed the decision to accept Russian tourists who have been inoculated with the Sputnik vaccine, as this will gradually reopen one of Cyprus’ most important markets.

However, it said that another decisive factor for a complete reopening of the Russian market will depend on airlines that are yet to set a roadmap for the upcoming summer.

At the same time, Stek said that the tourism industry is awaiting the UK’s decisions regarding international travel.

“So far, information and reports in the British press put Cyprus in the ‘orange’ category, which means Britons returning to the UK will have to self-isolate for 10 days,” Stek said.

“This is a very strong disincentive for potential visitors, especially considering that similar destinations, such as Malta, are poised to be included in a category above us.”

Meanwhile, the association said that predictions regarding the Nordic market and arrivals from Central European countries are still difficult to make due to travel bans and the measures applied in each country when travellers return from their holidays.

“What we can be happy about is the fact that the number of cases detected at airports is very low, about four positives out of 5,000 tests,” Stek said.

“Now the major challenge is to reduce the number of positive cases in the community, which remains alarmingly high.”

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