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COVID19: Cyprus hotels welcome new travel rules

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Cyprus hoteliers have welcomed a new four-tier safe travel list, replacing the older three-category system, as reviving coronavirus-stricken tourism by easing quarantine rules.

Hoteliers are particularly pleased that arrivals who can prove they are vaccinated against COVID-19 will not need to present a negative PCR test upon arrival, while no tourist is required to self-isolate for a fortnight.

Cyprus is said to be the first country to announce it will allow COVID vaccinated tourists entry from 1 March 2021

“The government’s decision on the new measures for the gradual resumption of flights and the operation of airports has been met with great satisfaction by the hotel and tourism industry of Famagusta,” said Doros Takas, chairman of the Famagusta branch of the Cyprus Hotel Association.

In comments to the Cyprus News Agency, Takas said: “First reactions following the announcement of the new travel list have been very positive, confirming that these measures are on the right track”.

“We firmly believe the timely announcement of the new list, mainly concerning countries to be included in the new red category, previously Category C, will help in the proper planning for tour operators and airlines, which was the main request of the CHA and its local and international partners,” said Takas.

His Paphos counterpart, Thanos Michaelides told CNA the move puts Cyprus further in line with an EU common travel policy, boosting travel from the bloc.

“The move will allow operators to plan and create programmes for the 2021 summer season,” said Michaelides.

He said the good news will allow Paphos hoteliers to form a clearer picture for the coming summer season at some point towards the end of the first quarter of 2021.

Apart from those vaccinated, travellers must meet the requirements set for their country of origin in a four-tier system.

Cyprus’ reformed safe travel list is based on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) guidelines.

EU, European Economic Area countries, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, countries on the European Council’s list of third countries, Russia, Ukraine, Israel, Lebanon, UAE, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Belarus will be classified in the Green, Orange and Red categories.

The Green tier is for low-risk COVID-19 countries, from which arrivals are free to enter.

The orange tier includes countries with a higher risk, and passengers must present a negative coronavirus test, taken within the past 72 hours.

The Red tier means travellers can enter if they carry a negative PCR test and undergo another test upon their arrival at the airport. Passengers from countries in this tier will not have to self-isolate.

A fourth category has been introduced, called the ‘Gray’ tier in which travellers will need a ‘special permit’ if they are not Cypriots or residents.

Arrivals from countries in this category must submit a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours before departure and self-isolate upon arrival in accordance with the instructions of the Health Ministry.

All third countries not categorised in the Green, Orange and Red categories automatically go in the Gray tier.

Cyprus applies a three-category safe list A, B and C, and currently, no EU country is in category A, from where visitors do not need to provide a negative COVID-19 test.