NICOSIA – The lingering COVID-19 pandemic all but forgotten as health measure restrictions were being rapidly eased, Cyprus’ opening to tourists again could bring more than 2 million this year, said Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios.
Speaking after a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee for Commerce, Perdios he said that the loss of some 800,000 Russians under European Union sanctions barring Russian airlines over the invasion of Ukraine would keep the island from matching the record 4 million arrivals in 2019 but would surpass the 2021 level,
He said the prediction is based on the first fourth months of 2022 that saw arrivals hitting 70-75 percent of those during the record setter in 2019 before the pandemic struck the world in February, 2020.
“These numbers are a significant boost for us because in this period we were at the height of the Omicron COVID variant, imposing strict entry protocols and requiring double negative COVID tests even for vaccinated travelers. But we also have had the war in Ukraine which has affected many people,” he said, reported Kathimerini.
Perdios also pointed out the increase in internet searches for Cyprus, which came to more than those even in 2019 with people eager to travel again and international air traffic soaring.