The epidemiological data in Cyprus are at a turning point as regards tourism, Deputy Minister for Tourism Savvas Perdios has said, stressing that at a time when the whole of Europe is in the red category as far as the coronavirus is concerned, if Cyprus manages to move to the green category, that would have positive results for the country’s tourist industry in the summer.
The Deputy Minister, who was speaking during an online discussion on "Tourism: Cyprus before the challenges of the pandemic", referred to the agreement reached with Israel on green passports, that will come into force on April 1, 2021, saying that similar agreements should be signed with other countries and especially with the United Kingdom and Russia.
The agreement was signed on Sunday in Israel between the Deputy Minister and his Israeli counterpart Orit Farkash-Hacohen. Perdios explained that the green passport can be given to those who have been vaccinated with the second dose of an EU-approved vaccine, at least seven days before travelling. He clarified that the Republic of Cyprus will still have the right to ask a person with a green passport to do a coronavirus test.
He added that Israel has shown that the way forward is for similar agreements to be reached with other countries such as Russia, and said that the Foreign Minister will discuss the matter with his Russian counterpart.
The vaccination is not a precondition for someone to travel to Cyprus, Perdios said.
Concluding, the Deputy Minister said that the national strategy for tourism will not change, but added that the pandemic confirmed the need to implement the strategy faster and to speed up actions.
Chairman of the Cyprus Hotel Association Haris Loizides said that tourism is the sector that will help the country come out of the crisis and take the path of growth. Referring to the agreement with Israel, he pointed out that the country is the third biggest market for Cyprus. Moreover, Loizides said that 97% to 98% of hotels are closed and added that some of them are closed since October 2019.
Chairman of the Association of Cyprus Travel Agents Vasilis Stamataris said that some major tour operators are turning their attention to safer countries and Cyprus should take advantage of this.