Tourism can benefit from the way Cyprus handled the coronavirus pandemic, gaining a head start on other regional holiday destinations.
Deputy Minister of Tourism, Savvas Perdios said Eastern Mediterranean countries that were able to get an early grip on the virus are best placed to attract the interest of tour operators.
Perdios said, “tour operators are unlikely to be able to organise trips to countries like Spain, Italy and France” giving Cyprus an advantage.
Med countries like Spain and Italy have been among those countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
He argued that “although it will be a very difficult summer, there might be some last-minute opportunities. Opportunities could arise towards the end of the Summer, which may even allow us to extend the tourist season”.
The Deputy Minister urged hoteliers and other businesses active in Cyprus’ tourism industry, to wait until mid-May before deciding whether or not to stay closed.
Perdios said restrictions on the holiday industry will be the last to be lifted noting that “tourism will be able to kick-off sometime in July”.
He told state radio CyBC: “Tourists from some countries that have brought the virus under control, will be looking at the possibility of going on holiday from early July and in August”.
He noted that this is subject to when these countries and, of course, Cyprus, will be opening up their airports.
“The Ministry of Tourism has said from the beginning that if all goes well, we will be able to welcome the first tourists in July.
We are still in a position to support this prediction, but the final word belongs to the Ministry of Health and the epidemiological team.”
He said authorities need to decide on which markets they should target, and which tourists will be allowed in first based on the scientific data.
“We also need to decide what safety measures each business should adopt as well as the procedures that travellers should follow, such as health documents,” said Perdios.
He pointed out that EU tourism ministers are demanding the draft of a common travel protocol which will dictate and facilitate traffic at airports across the bloc.
This might include the need for health certificates and checks before boarding an aircraft.