Cyprus is regaining British tour operators trust, as the UK’s largest travel firm TUI reinstated flights and holiday packages for the Mediterranean island which is considered among Europe’s top COVID-19 low-risk destinations.
Following Jet2, which reinstated flights on 17 August, TUI has announced that it is resuming flights to Cyprus with 11 flights arriving this weekend.
The company stopped flights when the country went on lockdown on 21 March as Cyprus stepped up its restrictions to stem the spread of coronavirus.
TUI had announced it would not resume flights to the island until after September 4.
Five TUI flights will arrive in Paphos on Saturday from Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, and East Midlands.
Six more flights are expected to arrive at Larnaca on Sunday.
Cyprus welcomed British tourists back on August 1 but had placed the UK in category B, meaning all arrivals must have a negative PCR test to be allowed entry.
Having to be tested before coming to the island was a turn-off for British tourists and consequently tour operators, as getting tested for COVID-19 in the UK is no easy task and costly.
Needing to be taken no more than 72 hours before travelling, these tests are not available on the NHS and can cost as much as £200 – putting holidaymakers off.
Those willing to pay the cost, however, will be able to enter Cyprus without quarantining back in the UK as the island has a low COVID transmission rate.
To convince Brits to hop on their planes TUI is offering £200 off Cyprus holidays for those spending £1,250 and over for departures between September 5 and October 31.
TUI Airways is operating in total 25 flights next week to Larnaca and Paphos airports.
According to Cyprus airports operator Hermes, some 132 flights are expected from the UK operated by TUI, British Airways, easyJet, Jet2, Ryanair and Wizz Air, between September 5 and 11.
Under normal circumstances, the UK is the island’s largest tourist market with a 33% share of total arrivals.
TUI is also offering packages for three nights with return flights, 15kg luggage and transfers – from £250pp
Seven nights half-board at platinum recommended hotel with return flights, 15kg luggage and transfers – from £555pp
Seven nights all-inclusive at a platinum hotel with return flights, 15kg luggage and transfers – from £542pp
While Cyprus remains one of the safer destinations, France, Spain, Croatia and Malta have all been placed on the UK quarantine list in recent weeks while Portugal and Greece face travel restrictions in Wales and Scotland.
Cyprus has a good epidemiological picture, with the keeping cases in single-digit figures for a week, after a resurgence of the virus at the end of July which peaked at 26 cases on 19 August.