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COVID not Brexit biggest threat to Cyprus tourism

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Hoteliers do not expect to see tourism affected by Brexit, as indications so far point to British tourists being allowed to travel to Cyprus and the rest of the EU without needing a visa.

However, uncertainty during the pandemic poses an even greater threat to Cyprus tourism.

In comments to the Cyprus News Agency, Doros Takkas, Famagusta branch chair of the Cyprus Hotel Association, said tourist flows from the UK will not be affected by Brexit, as no additional requirements have been introduced since Britain left the EU.

“Fortunately, Britons and EU residents will not need a visa to travel to and from to the EU”.

Takkas said that Cyprus tourism stakeholders’ main concern over UK tourists, has more to do with the deteriorating financial situation in the country.

“Britons have found themselves in financial dire straits, which will take its toll on tourism,” said Takkas.

He explained that the CHA wishes to see an economically strong Britain, with a strong currency, which will be in harmony with the euro as Cyprus is considered expensive.

“Unfortunately, no one can do anything to eliminate the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic which has put a freeze on every single sector of the economy,” said Takkas.

“There is nothing that hoteliers and businesses related to the industry can do to ease the situation but wait for the vaccination programs across to the globe to start paying off.

“Hoteliers and staff are eager to return to normality without having a clear picture when that will happen”.

The CHA Famagusta branch chair said that the uncertainty is “keeping the tourism sector, both locally and globally gridlocked, as nothing plans can be done until the majority of the EU population is vaccinated”.

The UK is Cyprus’ largest tourist market making up a third of annual tourist arrivals which reached 3.97 million in 2019.

Cyprus lost about 80% of its tourist arrivals last year which had a devastating effect on tourism income.

It launched its vaccination program on 27 December with some 6,035 people, mainly the elderly and health workers, getting the COVID-19 jab.

Cyprus was also the first EU country to announce it would allow unconditional entry to vaccinated tourists from March.