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COVID19: Hotels want firm date for Cyprus welcoming UK tourists

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While hotels are fighting tooth and nail to reduce their losses this year, Cyprus Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios suggested British tourists could begin arriving on the island in mid-July.

In an exclusive to UK’s ‘The Sun’, Perdios said, “In a few weeks from now, by mid-July, flights will be possible from the UK to Cyprus,” adding that 15 July sounded “very reasonable.”

While welcoming Perdios’ declaration, the Cyprus Hotels Association is asking the minister to set a specific date for the resumption of flights from Britain but also Russia, two biggest markets for the island.

Combined the UK (33.5%) and Russia (19.7%) contributed 53% of all tourist arrivals to the island in 2019.

In comments to the Financial Mirror, Filokypros Rousounides, the general director of the Cyprus Hotels Association, said: “Cyprus tourism stakeholders need to be given a date for reopening of the markets so that they can get their campaigns off the ground”.

He explained that hoteliers and tour operators have not been given a fixed date, unlike Greece and Spain who have announced that they will open airports to the UK on 11 July.

“This could mean that holidaymakers looking for a holiday package are more likely to be sent to other countries which have announced a date for reopening rather than waiting for Cyprus.

At the moment there is no official statement when Cyprus will reopen to Britain,” said Rousounides.

The deputy minister previously said that governments did not have the luxury for long-term planning as data changed from week to week.

Rousounides argued that hoteliers did not expect to make a profit this year, saying the goal was to minimize losses in 2020 so that the local tourism industry can be in a better position to make a strong comeback in 2021 in a very competitive market.

“We need to get a date so that we are able to maintain relations with tour operators this year so that we remain on their radar next year.”

Rousounides said the CHA is happy with the way the ministry has handled the crisis, noting that a huge part of the effort to keep Cyprus on the destination radar for tourists is the junior ministry’s actions and campaigns.

“But in order for these campaigns and actions to pay off, we need a solid date for reopening these markets.”