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COVID19: Cyprus has low expectations for UK tourist arrivals

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Cyprus has lowered the bar when it comes to tourist arrivals from the UK, as travellers need to undergo a coronavirus test before coming, said Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios.

Recent deals with Wizz Air to set up a base at Larnaca and British tour operator Jet2 to resume flights to Cyprus are not enough to save the summer season, admitted Perdios.

He did express satisfaction over the high occupancy on Wizz Air flights, adding that this is one of the reasons why his Deputy Ministry sought to conclude an agreement with the company to establish a base in Cyprus.

The airline’s destinations to and from Cyprus include France, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Austria, and Germany, helping the ministry’s strategic plan to broaden and diversify its basket of markets from which the island draws tourists.

Perdios said it is important that the cooperation with Wizz Air had begun well.

“We hope that it will give a boost to the tourism sector, especially from 2021, in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, when we will be in need of new markets”.

Perdios commenting on Jet2 resume routes noted: “Although we are happy that a big tour operator has resumed its routes to Cyprus on Monday, our expectations regarding tourist arrivals from Britain are still not high”.

Asked about expectations on the number of tourists arriving with Jet2, Perdios said: “It is still early for the airline to reach a high occupancy rate”.

“We will also need to evaluate how many of the passengers arriving will stay in tourist accommodation.”

“Jet2 not only carries out charter flights but also offers seats for the general public, as a result, a large number of tickets may be bought by people who either have a residence in Cyprus or will choose to stay with relatives.

It is important for Cyprus that this airline was persuaded to put our island on its flight schedule, despite the fact that visitors need to take a coronavirus test in advance and the cost will be borne entirely by themselves. ”

Even though it is now possible for British tourists – the island’s Biggest market – to come to Cyprus if they have a negative COVID-19 test, many people in the UK find it difficult to get tested, he said.

Reportedly, coronavirus tests in the UK cost around £200, if carried out in the private sector while the NHS will only test people with symptoms.

Perdios also pointed out that the British economy was affected to a greater extent due to coronavirus compared to other European countries.

UK GDP fell by 20% in the first half of 2020, while in most European countries GDP decline was around 12%.