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Wary of COVID-19, Variants, Cyprus Will Still Open to 60 Countries

NICOSIA — Despite a stubborn COVID-19 and lockdown easing, Cyprus plans to open to tourists from 60 countries on April 1, using a color-coded system to determine what conditions will prevail for them, with one eye on variants, especially from The United Kingdom.

Hotel owners, said The Financial Mirror, are counting on Israelis, where half the population has been vaccinated, as well as domestic tourism from Cypriots while reaching out to those from abroad as well.

Those would be the bridge until the biggest market, the former Colonial ruler the UK, lets travelers out of the country, Cyprus being the favorite destination and home to many British ex-patriates.

Philokypros Rousounides, the Cyprus Hotel Association Director General, said they hope that Israeli tourists will inject needed monies into the island’s Coronavirus-stricken tourism sector, the site reported.

For the UK and Israel, people vaccinated with an EU-approved COVID-19 vaccine will be allowed entry to Cyprus without any other requirement. The UK makes up a third of the island’s 4 million tourist arrivals usually, and Israelis some 7.4 percent annually.

The UK won't let people out until the end of June which will put a crimp in the early part of the summer for Cyprus' economy. 

“We are banking on a number of factors, given that Britons may not be allowed to travel in the coming months. We are waiting to see how traffic from Israel will pick up while requesting the government to lift a ban on local bookings,” said Rousounides.

He said that the number of flights for Cyprus from Israel scheduled by airliners for April has significantly increased; however, “we don’t expect to see any real flows of tourists before the end of June”.

Rousounides said 95 percent of hotels are currently shut, as hoteliers waiting to see how bookings pick up in the coming days to decide whether it is worth opening before the summer gets underway.

“The lifting of the ban on overnight stays for Cypriots is an important parameter for any decision since it is estimated that our compatriots will rush to take advantage of incentives given to strengthen domestic tourism that has been extended until the end of May,” he told the site.

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