Cyprus to restart tourism amidst COVID-19

Cyprus International Airport

Cyprus on Friday outlined plans for the phased resumption next month of commercial flights from a select number of countries with low COVID-19 infection rates to jump-start its vital tourism sector.

Plan to open commercial flights

Cyprus has developed a plan for a phase by phase opening of commercial flights. These flights will be coming to Cyprus from a few selected countries which have very low COVID-10 infection rates. This strategy will help them restart tourism, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said flights will begin in two phases June 9 and June 20 from two groups of countries selected by an advisory body of medical experts.

The first group of countries is Greece, Malta, Bulgaria, Norway, Austria, Finland, Slovenia, Hungary, Israel, Denmark, Germany, Slovakia, and Lithuania. The second group is made up of Switzerland, Poland, Romania, Croatia, Estonia, and the Czech Republic. The list excludes the country’s two main tourism markets Britain, and Russia.

Karousos said starting June 9, passengers arriving from these countries in either group must obtain three days prior to departure a health certificate confirming that they are virus-free. Starting June 20, passengers from the first group of countries won’t need health certificates, but those from the second group will still be required to obtain them.

New flight arrival policy

Explaining the new policy, he mentioned:

  • Lights from any country not included in either group will only be permitted to carry Cypriot citizens or foreign nationals. Who permanently reside in Cyprus or anyone who has been granted special permission.
  • These passengers will also have to obtain a health certificate three days prior to departure. They can choose to be tested in Cyprus but will have to stay in self-isolation for one day in designated accommodation.
  • Passengers arriving from any other country are required to self-isolate at home for 14 days.
  • Anyone arriving from countries that don’t have labs capable of conducting specialized tests for the virus can be tested in Cyprus.
  • Passengers will have to cover costs relating to testing, quarantine accommodations or transport.
  • Hotels closed in March, will open their doors on June 1.

More countries will be added to the two groups in the coming days, the minister said.Tourism accounts for 13% of GDP for Cyprus. The government estimates that it will lose 70% of its business estimating about 1.82 billion euros this year. This is indeed a big loss for the country and the authorities are eager to get hotels and other businesses up and running.

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