COVID19: Hoteliers want ‘safe tourist list’ set in stone

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Hoteliers in Cyprus want the authorities to stick to the plan for a new list that will determine 56 countries as safe markets from March 1.

The countries, where the junior ministry of tourism aims to focus its marketing campaign this summer, is a four-tier travel list from where visitors won’t need to quarantine upon arrival, thus boosting connectivity.

Philokypros Rousounides, Director General of the Cyprus Hotel Association, said that stakeholders need to brief foreign tour operators on what regulations will be in place.

As of last Saturday, visitors arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports from category A and B countries have to self-isolate for three days and undertake a PCR test for coronavirus upon ending their quarantine.

Currently, passengers from category A destinations do not need to present a negative PCR test to enter, while those from category B countries require one but do not need to self-isolate.

Due to the high-risk strain discovered in the U.K., visitors from Britain are tested upon arrival and must quarantine for 7 days, requiring a negative test to be released.

Rousounides said that the first three months of the year have already been written off, while Cyprus expects its first tourists in June, if the epidemiological data are within safe limits by then.

“Our primary concern is to have these (56 countries) categorised according to their epidemiological risk, so that we can proceed to plan for the second half of the year,” he told the Cyprus News Agency.

According to the list, passengers who prove they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 will not need to present a negative PCR test upon arrival.

Cyprus is the first EU country to introduce this regulation.

Other travellers will have to meet the requirements according for their country of origin.

 

Green, Orange and Red

EU member states, European Economic Area countries, the U.K. 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 according to risk.

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 arrival at the airport. Passengers from countries in this tier must self-isolate.

A fourth category has been introduced, called the ‘gray’ tier for which travellers will need a ‘special permit’ if they are not Cypriot nationals or permanent residents.

Passengers arriving from countries in this category must submit a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours before departure and self-isolate upon arrival.

Rousounides said that failure to stick to the regulations will raises concerns about Cyprus’ credibility and will prolong the uncertainty that already exists in the travel and tourism industry.

He warned that if the list is not introduced and explained in time, “our partners, who want to send large flows of tourists to our island, will turn to other rival destinations in the area such as Greece, Turkey and Egypt.”