COVID19: Cypriots choose safer Greek islands for summer escape

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The pandemic and lockdown measures across Europe have left Cypriot holidaymakers with few choices for their summer getaways, but the Greek islands are proving popular.

Travel agents are recording a sharp increase in bookings made by Cypriots for the Greek Islands for the busy months of July and August.

In comments to the website Stockwatch, Dinos Kakouras, the honorary chairman of the Association of Cyprus Travel Agents, said Cypriots are almost exclusively booking holidays for Greece.

“In previous years, Cypriots had become more adventurous, choosing to travel to the States and the Far East,” noted Kakouras.

“This year, due to the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown measures, Cypriots are focusing on the Greek islands, a more traditional choice.”

He also noted that Cypriots had shown interest in cruises leaving from Limassol.

Cypriots are particularly interested in trips to Mykonos, Santorini, Parga, Skiathos and Rhodes, while Athens and Thessaloniki are also among their top picks.

Kakouras said travellers can find better deals now than they could before the COVID-19 pandemic.

A five-day package to Rhodes ( including airfare, accommodation in a double room, transfer to the airport) starts from €365 per person.

A four-day package to Skiathos starts from €455.

There are two cruise ships with regular trips to the Greek islands for July and August, stopping at Rhodes, Mykonos, Piraeus, Santorini, and Chania in Crete.

Prices for a cruise to the Greek islands start at €699 for full board.

The European Union Digital Covid Certificate will be ready on time for the mid-summer holidays.

The move is expected to encourage travel within the bloc.

President of the European Parliament David Sassoli, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Costa representing the EU Council, signed the protocol for digital COVID-19 certificates on Monday.

“Now we can travel in a safe way. Safe for ourselves, for those who host us, and for our families, neighbours and colleagues when we come back,” said Costa.

“With the success of our European vaccination campaign and this new EU certificate, we can all look forward to the summer.

“To travel safely. And we are bringing back the spirit of an open Europe,” said von der Leyen.

The European digital COVID-19 certificates will come online on 1 July and is valid for 12 months.