Cyprus sets table for summer holidays

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With Cyprus ready to open for tourists and do away with quarantine for COVID safe countries from 1 April, the government said it provided stability for tour operators and airlines to bring more visitors this summer.

Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios told CNA that opening up to non-EU countries from 1 April provides stability the decimated tourism sector needs.

The government introduced on 1 March a four-tier colour-coded safe travel system that allows tourists from designated countries to enter Cyprus without needing a test or quarantine.

They include EU member states and third countries such as Britain, Russia, and Israel, the island’s main feeder markets.

The COVID-19 assessment was reclassified into Green, Orange, Red categories based on the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) and an additional Grey class for arrivals requiring special permission.

Despite country of origin, all passengers must apply for the CyprusFlightPass within 24 hours before the departure of their flight.

Until 31 March, low-risk Green category arrivals must undergo a PCR laboratory test upon arrival in Cyprus, the cost of which will be covered by the Republic.

From 1 April, there will be no restrictions on category green countries.

“This means our target to open the country for tourism as of April based on the ECDC protocols is achieved,” Perdios said.

“The message to our tourist markets is that from April, we will be open so that reservations can be made for the summer season; there is stability for planning,” he added.

Perdios said this month the government and Cyprus airports would consult with tour operators and air carriers “to achieve the best we can for the upcoming tourist season”.

The pandemic dealt a severe blow to the island’s tourist season, with arrivals in 2020 dropping by a record 85% compared with 2019 after successive record years.

Cyprus has also agreed to allow COVID-19 vaccinated Israeli tourists to enter without conditions from April and UK visitors from May.