Cyprus hoteliers are placing their money on a new three-tier safe travel list, which the government is working on for the next tourist season, granting conditional entry to all travellers.
According to the Director General of the Cyprus Hotel Association, Philokypros Rousounides, authorities are preparing a new three-tier safe travel list which will not prohibit travel from any country regardless of their coronavirus status.
In comments to Stockwatch, Rousounides called for the prompt categorization of countries “so that 2021 does not follow in the footsteps of 2020”.
“Messages coming from travel agents and airlines following the first official announcements on coronavirus vaccines reveal a strong interest from people who want to plan their holidays for the upcoming tourist season,” said Rousounides.
He argued that hoteliers will need to know of the government’s plans to allow travel to the island so that they can prepare.
Instead of applying a three-category list, Cyprus will be adopting a three-tier travel list denominated by colours.
A Green tier which will include countries with low risk regarding COVID-19, from which passengers will be allowed in freely.
An orange tier will include countries with a higher risk, and passengers must present a negative coronavirus test.
A red tier country means travellers can enter if they carry a negative PCR test and undergo another test upon their arrival at the airport.
The new system is expected to be in place at least for all EU countries and those covered by the Schengen agreement, Russia and Ukraine.
Cyprus has been applying a three-category safe list A, B and C.
Currently, no EU country is in Cyprus’ A category, from where visitors do not need to provide a negative COVID-19 test.
Arrivals from countries in Category B need proof they have tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of boarding their flight to Cyprus.
Entry to Cyprus from category C countries is allowed for Cypriots, residents, and people with a special permit.
People arriving from these countries need to carry a coronavirus negative test, undergo another test upon arrival and then self-isolate for 14 days.
Arrivals from category C countries will need to repeat the test (at own expense) 48 hours before ending their 14-day self-isolation.
Rousounides said Cyprus will follow EU policy when it comes to travellers vaccinated for COVID-19.
No holiday cheer
Also talking to Stockwatch, the chairman of the CHA Famagusta branch, Doros Takas said: “Our partners abroad are asking for clear information on the categorization of different countries to start preparing for the new season.”
Takas argued that the government’s plans on safe travel should not be based on expectations of the vaccination rollout.
“If we are to wait for the results of the vaccine, we will lose the 2021 season, which will be disastrous for our industry.
“Travel agents and airlines are pushing and asking to know our plans from today, to include us in their campaigns “.
Takas also said that Famagusta has taken the biggest hit from the crisis brought on by the pandemic.
He argued the winter season is also a write-off for hotels in the region.
“The two hotels that have remained open in the region have not seen any tourists or retirees from Britain and the Nordic countries who used to spend the winter months in Ayia Napa and Protaras.”
Paphos CHA chairman Thanos Michaelides said that local hoteliers expect to see some traffic towards the end of February when people start getting vaccinated.
“So far there is no differentiation in the data as tourists gave up on Cyprus following the increase of cases locally.”
“No locals have booked Christmas holidays with hotels in the region as they feel insecure with the situation as it is”.