Holidays to Cyprus hotspot ‘written off’ this summer as region faces COVID-19 devastation

Though travel is back on to many parts of Europe for the UK, it seems holidays to Cyprus are “written off as far as tourism is concerned”. The bold statement came from the Cyprus Hotel Association, which says it’s usually busy season is suffering in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Though Cyprus is on the list of countries given the green light for quarantine free travel for England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, many flights have not yet restarted.

Flights are to set to resume from August 1 when Cyrus’ own quarantine rule for UK travellers comes to an end.

According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO): “Tourist arrivals from a limited number of countries are now permitted, but this does not include the UK.

“Passengers who have been in the UK, or any other destination not listed in categories A or B, in the last 14 days will not be allowed to enter Cyprus, even via a third country, until further notice.

“The Republic of Cyprus government have indicated that this may change from August 1.”

However, the UK is one of Cyprus’ main tourism markets, and the lack of foot traffic is seeing many of its holiday hotspots suffer.

“2020 can be written off as far as tourism is concerned, particularly in the Famagusta area, where hotels are suffering the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the consequences of travel restrictions,” the Cyprus Hotel Association told local media.

Hotspot Aya Napa is also said to be feeling the strain.

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Though hotels across Cyprus were granted the freedom to reopen in March, many have remained desolate.

Speaking to the Sunday Mail, Lakis Avramides, manager of the Ayia Napa and Protaras tourism board, said: “It’s difficult to say exactly how many hotels are open because the situation is changing day to day, but right now about 50 to 55 out of 200 hotels are open.”

With UK airlines such as TUI vowing to only fly Britons to destinations where there is no need for a quarantine period, for now, Cyprus remains off the list.

It’s an omission that is being felt by business owners.

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According to The Sun, Angelos Nicolaou – who owns Nelia Gardens hotel in Ayia Napa – said around 80 percent of their usual customers, typically British and Russian visitors, are currently absent.

It is thought that once Cyprus gives the UK the go-ahead to visit, travellers may be asked to provide valid coronavirus tests taken in the 72 hours prior to travel.

“Brits will supposedly come from August 1, but I see this as unlikely – who will go through all the hassle?,” said Mr Nicolaou.

Currently, UK nationals may enter the northern part of the country, but at a cost.

The FCO explains: “The authorities in the north of Cyprus are permitting entry to UK nationals who can present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result (taken in the previous 72 hours) and go into quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.”

It continues: “It is expected that from 16 July, if you are travelling from the UK or a list of other countries available from the administration in the north of Cyprus, you will be required to show a negative COVID-19 PCR test result (not older than five days) on arrival.

“A second COVID-19 PCR test will be carried out at the airport, followed by seven days quarantine at your own expense.

“A third COVID-19 PCR test after seven days, if negative, will allow for release from the quarantine facility.”

There has not yet been any confirmation of how things will look for holidaymakers from August 1.

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