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Economy

COVID Red Alert for Cyprus Sets Back Tourism Rebound Hopes

NICOSIA — Cyprus' summer plans that tourists would come to help partially offset businesses losses because of COVID-19 lockdowns were undercut after island was declared largely unsafe for travelers by the European Centre of Disease Control (ECDC) because of a jump in Coronavirus cases.

Cyprus was put into the Red category, just one step below the dangerous level of Deep Red, The Cyprus Mail said, leaving hotel owners and tourism professionals backpedaling and wondering what the losses will be.

In a written statement, Famagusta hoteliers blamed the case jump on people who refuse to be vaccinated and with the government not making shots mandatory despite how critical that is to the economy.

The hotel owners also were upset about a group they said “also hide that they have been infected by the virus,” and don't report they have contracted the disease and can spread it to others.

The result is a “moving bomb that will not only blow up the hotel industry but also the entire economy,” the group said, the paper reported.

“We have shouldered the greatest weight during the crisis in the tourist industry and we are now suffering new blows, which, unless something changes radically, will spell the end of the hotel industry,” the statement said.

With the prime markets from Russia and the United Kingdom barred from coming, some hotel owners in Famagusta said they're considering closing up for the summer because with the new advisory they won't have enough customers./

“No one will travel to Cyprus in these conditions since they would have to quarantine upon their return,” a statement said, adding that stricter government measures were expected in a roller coaster ride between being tough and lenient.

The association of tourist enterprises STEK chief Chrysemily Psilogeni said the prospects for the rest of the season were grim even if the situation improved because there's not enough time for people to make vacation plans.

“We will finish the season without a high influx of tourists, neither from our basic markets, nor the secondary ones,” she said, the second year in a row that the pandemic battered the country's most important revenue driver.

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