COVID19: New outbreak worst outcome for tourism

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Following a new wave of COVID-19 cases, Cyprus tourism stakeholders despair, holding out little hope the season can recover in August.

On Tuesday, another 827 coronavirus cases marked two weeks of rapid increase, with the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) placing Cyprus into its dangerous red category.

Basing their risk assessment travel lists on the ECDC, Germany has placed Cyprus in its high-risk category, with more EU countries expected to follow.

Travellers arriving in Germany from the Mediterranean island must carry proof of being vaccinated or recovering from the virus in the past six months, a negative PCR test, or be subjected to quarantine.

Cyprus hoteliers sound the alarm, warning that the summer season will be lost if cases do not fall.

The more aggressive Delta variant is driving the fourth wave of COVID-19.

The Director-General of the Cyprus Hotel Association, Philokypros Rousounides, told the website Stockwatch: “If the upward trend of cases is not restrained, unfortunately, we will see other countries categorising us in their high-risk travel categories, putting off tourists from travelling to Cyprus.”

In such a case only, vaccinated tourists will be able to travel to the island without restrictions, bringing about body blow to the coronavirus-stricken industry.

“July is already a write-off. We are now trying to save what we can,” said Rousounides calling on Cypriots to get vaccinated to stem the spread of coronavirus.

A CHA request to have mobile vaccination units visit hotels to vaccinate staff has been approved by the Health Ministry.

Rousounides said hotels are preparing a list of employees who have requested to get vaccinated.

The general manager of the Association of Cyprus Hotel Enterprises, Chrisemily Psilogeni, said that hoteliers are certain that more countries will follow Germany in placing Cyprus in a ‘no-go’ category.

“The effects will be significant for the tourism industry and the local economy, so the government should take drastic measures to reduce cases through vaccinations since there is no other way to deal with the pandemic.”.

The honorary president of the Association of Cyprus Travel Agents (ACTA), Dinos Kakkouras, told Stockwatch: “we are not surprised by Germany’s move”.

“As long as the epidemiological indicators of Cyprus do not improve, travel organisers are not willing to take on the risk of bringing tourists to Cyprus while other competing countries are in the green.

“Tour operators are removing Cyprus from their schedules and will probably not be adding the island back, at least not this year”.