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Cyprus Willing To Welcome Brits On Holiday As Soon As June!

Cyprus have made a direct appeal to the UK...

As authorities prepare to welcome holidaymakers with open arms as soon as June.

I an excerpt from the Sun Online Travel the Cypriot deputy tourism minister Savvas Perdios said "We love taking care of the British people.

"There are a lot of British people living here. Whenever others are ready to visit our island we will welcome them with open arms."

Almost 1,000,000 Brits travelled to the Mediterranean country in 2019 with the majority if visitors opting for a coastline vacation.

Mr Perdios several days earlier said Brits wouldn’t be one of the first nationalities welcome once it’s borders are re-opened.

In a recent interview he said: "The important thing is that travel agents have Cyprus in mind…there are positive signs from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Nordic countries, Greece, Israel and perhaps the Netherlands."

Since then he has declared that is not the case.

He said: "We don’t have preferences based on nationality. The ideal case scenario is for everyone to be able to come.

"We have always been a hospitable country. We have been welcoming people for decades, especially from the UK, which is one of our most important markets. And that is never going to change.”

The head of the Cyprus Association of Travel Agents said: “We are a hospitality industry and do not discriminate.

Cyprus 3
Photo by ZA Tourist

Kryou Nerou, Cyprus

"Of course we want them here… we were very sorry about them leaving the EU but as in most European countries the ministry of health is in charge now.”

As the corona virus outbreak hit mainland Europe it’s estimated tens of thousands of Brits were visiting the island at the time.

Cyprus were one of the fastest to react to the rapid spread of the virus and rushed to terminate flights and lockdown the borders in early March.

At that time, the UK government were forced to pay for hotels for the stranded guests.

Commercial flights were banned from May 17th up until last week.

It seems in light if their aggressive reactions to the pandemic Cyprus has fared better than most in containing the damage from COVID-19 with just 837 confirmed cases and only 15 deaths.

The tourism industry currently employs around 1 in 5 Cypriots who live on the island making it the fulcrum of the economic landscape there.

The head of the Cyprus Association of Travel Agents said: “At first the policies shocked our source markets but we thought the earlier we took this strong-handed approach, the earlier we could draft an exit strategy.

“The results have been very positive. And now as part of that exit strategy we are readying for full opening of the island as a tourist destination in mid-June. That is the vision.”

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lets ease travel restrictions’ we can immediately accept and welcome people.

The island’s president recently confirmed the new easing of measurements on Wednesday and the task of trying to reinstate the once thriving tourist sector is now of the utmost importance.

He added: “Hospitals, airports, hotels, restaurants, bars, beaches, public transport, taxi services, we want everything to be ready by mid-June at latest.

"If customers can’t come until early July that’s not the end of the world. We want to be ready so that when Europe, as a whole says ‘lets ease travel restrictions’ we can immediately accept and welcome people.”

However a word of caution was thrown in light of the acknowledgement these are unpredictable times. The minister stated that things could change “day by day” and would need to rely on the epidemiological data both in Cyprus and abroad.

He said: “Any decisions will be taken at the last minute based on how each country is doing when it comes to handling of the virus. Things can change day by day, week by week."

Despite the plans to lift restrictions and welcome UK travellers back, it is not so straight forward as the UK has its own quagmire to deal with in tackling the growing pandemic.

Cyprus is spearheading efforts to speed up means of facilitating travel through protocols that would be universally agreed with in the EU.

In order for Europe’s travel industry to resume there would need to be common rules to avoid complications with travellers going from one set of standards to another. A bilateral agreement is being worked on within the EU to make things smoother for all nations involved.

He said: “The most import thing now is to have a common protocol for travel and the sooner we get it the better for everyone involved.