Famagusta district hoteliers on Tuesday called on the government to scrap the requirement for unvaccinated tourists to test on the seventh day after their arrival, citing cancellations mainly from Russian travel agents.
The hoteliers said that the last decree from the health minister on Covid measures stipulates that the validity of the Cyprus Flight Pass, the permission everyone needs to obtain before travelling to Cyprus has been reduced to seven days forcing unvaccinated tourists to get tested either with a PCR or rapid test on the 7th day of their stay.
Unvaccinated residents by contrast must test every 72 hours if they wish to use the local ‘SafePass’ to get around.
Chairman of the Famagusta district branch of hoteliers’ association Pasyxe, Doros Takkas told the Cyprus News Agency that large Russian travel agents have already said the new rule to test unvaccinated tourists would lead to a drop in bookings by more than 20 per cent.
Takkas said they have only Russian tourists in the area now while large travel agents such as Biblio Globus and Tui Russia have contacted him saying that this will mean that Cyprus will no longer receive tourists whose stay is over seven days.
“From some Russian provinces flights are every 10 days,” Takkas said, arguing that they are after tourists who book long stays.
He said this was “a very negative development.”
“Russian tourists are not willing to go through the hardship and the cost after seven days for PCR or rapid tests,” Takkas said.
Rapid test prices are fixed at a maximum of €10 and are available from labs and pharmacies islandwide.
Takkas added that visitors would rather travel to Egypt which is expected to open for tourism soon or other countries which would greatly affect Cyprus.
He said this was a “hasty decision” by the government that offers absolutely nothing but rather causes damage. He said this decision was “for internal consumption” to satisfy people who have not been vaccinated and are protesting, even though the tourists he was referring to are also unvaccinated people. People who have been vaccinated or who have recovered from Covid-19 within the last 180 days are exempt. It was among the measures approved by the Cabinet last week.
“We are shooting ourselves in the foot,” Takkas said, citing great problems to tourism, especially for August which is the best month as regards arrivals.
He said the government ought to restore the validity of the Cyprus Flight Pass to at least two weeks.
Takkas said he discussed the issue with the transport minister and the deputy minister for tourism who told him, that on this issue, the opinion of the health ministry was adopted by Cabinet.