Cyprus hotels will be paying for tourists’ rapid tests to mitigate the impact on the tourism sector following a government decision for all unvaccinated visitors to test for COVID-19 after seven days on the island.
Hoteliers said they were taking on the initiative, and the cost of the endeavour, to provide tourists with free rapid tests to minimise any inconvenience or extra cost.
From 1 August, unvaccinated tourists planning to spend more than a week on the Mediterranean island will have to present a negative COVID-19 test to access crowded venues such as bars, restaurants, even their hotels.
Previously all tourists could use their Cyprus Flight Pass to gain access to venues, regardless of how long their holiday lasted.
In comments to the website Stockwatch, the Director-General of the Cyprus Hotel Association, Philokypros Roussounides, said hoteliers stepped in to prevent any booking cancellations after the change in regulations.
“We would like to reassure our partners abroad that not much will change for tourists, as we will be providing tourists with free rapid tests after their seventh day on the island,” Roussounides said.
“We have come to agreements with private laboratories in all the towns. They will be providing tests at hotels with mobile units. We will be announcing the details.”
Roussounides said that unvaccinated tourists from countries allowed entry to Cyprus without quarantine would not have to worry over the hassle and expenses of taking tests.
However, hoteliers argue that the best solution would be to allow tourists to use their Cyprus Flight Pass documents for up to 14 days, which is the average time tourists spend on the island.
“Nevertheless, we have gone through much more difficult situations from the day the pandemic broke out, and we have always found solutions through dialogue with the state.
“So once again, with an attitude of responsibility, we will provide a solution to this negative development as well.”
He believes the Ministry of Health will review the relevant decree and amend it if cases drop significantly.
Cyprus tightened rules on unvaccinated arrivals from abroad, obliging them to take a test for COVID-19 on the seventh day of their stay, regardless of their country of origin.
Non-permanent residents entering the Republic must undergo a PCR or rapid antigen test after seven days.
People who have been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 within the last 180 days are exempt.
The Delta variant has swept the island, pushing up the numbers of COVID-19 patients in hospitals and ICU’s to dangerously high levels.
Earlier in July, Cyprus cases skyrocketed to a record 1,152.