Cyprus hopes to salvage a blighted coronavirus summer as flights bringing hundreds of British tourists from its main UK market will double next week to 84 reaching over 200 by the end of August.
The UK’s decision to keep Cyprus on its amber travel list means fully vaccinated Britons can fly to the island without having to quarantine on their return from 19 July.
Tour operators and airlines are now more confident about scheduling holiday flights and packages to Cyprus.
There were fears a record spike in COVID-19 infections would see the UK put Cyprus in the dreaded red zone, but its relatively high vaccination rate (one jab) of over 68% has saved the day.
According to Cyprus airports operator Hermes Airports, weekly UK flights will reach 84, as TUI will be relaunching its schedule next week instead of on the 26 July as originally planned.
TUI will be adding a number of connecting flights from UK airports such as Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester, and London.
Jet2 has also added a small number of flights from the UK to Cyprus, while Wizz Air, Condor, Ryanair, British Airways and easyJet are also expected to do the same.
Scheduled flights from the United Kingdom to the country’s two airports are set to peak at 212 during the last week of August.
Larnaca Airport alone will see scheduled flights from the UK to Cyprus increase from 17 this week, to 35 from July 19-25 and 65 at the end of the month.
During the week beginning 2 August UK flights to Larnaca rise to 95 and reach 107 after 23 August.
The same scenario will play out at Paphos Airport, as weekly flights increase gradually from 21 this week, to 86 at the beginning of August and 105 at the end of the same month.
Cyprus hoteliers are pleased there are fewer obstacles in the path of British tourists.
“In the gloomy landscape caused by the pandemic crisis and Cyprus’ epidemiological performance, this development is a ray of hope,” CHA’s Philokypros Roussounides told the Financial Mirror.
“We can be moderately optimistic that a dynamic trend from our traditional market will start to build over the next few weeks or even days,” said Roussounides.
Association of Cyprus Tourist Enterprises (STEK), General Manager Chrisemily Psilogeni said: “The fact that fully vaccinated Britons will not be required to go into quarantine on their return is a positive development, but challenges remain”.
Psilogeni said Cyprus’ worsening epidemiological data, with daily cases in four digits could deter tourists from coming.
“If the epidemiological picture of our country does not improve quickly, despite any initial increase in arrivals, it is very likely that we will not be the first choice of either British tourists or tour operators.”
She said Britain’s epidemiological picture is also in bad shape which could lead Cyprus authorities to ban UK arrivals.
Cyprus classifies the UK as a COVID-19 red zone country, but double jabbed tourists are allowed entry without restrictions.
The island has already seen income from tourism in 2020 slashed by a record 84%.
Pre-Covid-19, over 33% of Cyprus’ record 3.97 million tourist arrivals in 2019 came from the UK (1.4 mln).
Only 631,609 tourists arrived in Cyprus last year.
Cases remain stubbornly high, peaking at a record 1,152 on Thursday.
The island has reported 88,457 COVID infections and 383 deaths since the pandemic started.