It is imperative to restart the pandemic-battered tourism sector to breathe life into the economy, said the Association of Cyprus Travel Agents (ACTA), with proposals for a rebound.
Speaking during a press conference, ACTA President Vasilis Stamataris said the overall approach should facilitate efforts to attract tourists and minimise costs.
“In our view, tourism is extremely-important for Cyprus’ economy and should not become a victim.”
Tourists, he argued, have very few or no “close contacts” with the community, “they follow the rules and adhere to protocols more than anyone else when it comes to using masks or social distancing”.
Stamataris said Cyprus tourism has suffered for years in terms of competitiveness due to high costs.
“In this crucial phase, we must be more careful; it is imperative that we avoid the burden of extra costs, though decisions in some cases lead to fewer benefits.”
He presented a series of suggestions for better managing the crisis, successfully restarting the industry, and improving viability.
ACTA proposes geographical compartmentalization of Cyprus by district regarding epidemiological classification so that tourist areas are not “burdened unjustly.”
“We need to do whatever is necessary to protect these resorts from a potentially poor epidemiological situation in other areas; otherwise, the financial ramifications would be disastrous.”
Stamataris proposed that frontline tourism employees are vaccinated as a priority while the second COVID-19 PCR test required for arrivals from “red” category countries be substituted with a rapid antigen test, paid for by the government.
He also proposed a reduction in VAT to help the tourism sector become more competitive.
“The tourist season has already started, several countries are preparing by taking the necessary measures to tackle the pandemic, adhere to basic rules, search for solutions and come up with innovative regulations…we ought to do the same.”