NICOSIA – Without British tourists who aren't allowed until August 1 and show few signs of wanting to come, Cyprus' post-COVID-19 summer season is already dead in the water with even major resorts showing few to almost no guests.
The British newspaper The Sun reported that hotels in the popular Ayia Napa area are almost empty with people still afraid to travel with the Coronavirus still present in the world, especially in the hard-hit United Kingdom.
UK tourism is important for Cyprus with Brits flocking to the party resort every summer, the paper noted of the island that is a former colony and has more than 70,000 ex-patriates who call it home permanently.
According to local media, the Cyprus Hotel Association said: "2020 can be written off as far as tourism is concerned, particularly in the Famagusta area, where hotels are suffering the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the consequences of travel restrictions."
Hotels opened on June 4 after being closed since March but even at mid-summer there's little interest from tourists even on an island that has had a run of record years and a favorite of Europeans looking for sun and sand and beaches.
Ayia Napa is now a ghost town, of which it hasn't seen such low tourist numbers in decades, the paper said, noting that while there are some tourists the two biggest markets from the UK and Russia can't go yet.
Lakis Avramides, manager of the Ayia Napa and Protaras tourism board, told local media: "It’s difficult to say exactly how many hotels are open because the situation is changing day to day, but right now about 50-55 out of 200 hotels are open."
Making prospects even worse, British tour operators said they won't send groups on August 1 unless the island pulls back on plans to test UK visitors and put those who test positive in a quarantine.
Angelos Nicolaou who owns Nelia Gardens in Ayia Napa, said: "Our main markets are Britain and Russia, they account for about 80 per cent. Brits will supposedly come from August 1, but I see this as unlikely – who will go through all the hassle?"