Cyprus: Tourists To Have Part of Their Holiday Costs Covered

In this photo taken on Sunday, May 10, 2020, people walk among folded beach umbrellas dotted on an empty stretch of "Nissi beach" in Ayia Napa, Cyprus, a seaside resort that's popular with tourists from Europe and beyond. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Cyprus has announced a plan to help out the tourists that have run into the situation with the coronavirus pandemic after traveling there. The government has revealed that it will cover the holiday costs of the tourists who test positive for the virus after visiting the island.

The government released a letter on Wednesday, saying that it would pay for medicine, food, and accommodation for the people affected and their families. Tourists will only need to cover their airport transfer and repatriation flight, according to the letter.

The island currently has 939 confirmed cases and 17 deaths. 594 people have recovered from the virus so far. The numbers are currently low when compared to other places but the island wants to make sure that the tourism industry isn’t severely affected during these difficult times.

The BBC reports that the plan is part of a package of measures focused on attracting visitors back to the island. The tourism industry is a big part of the island’s economy so the government is said to be doing all it can to minimize the impact of the situation.

Cyprus is visited by many tourists every year but things have changed over the last few months. Countries have completely shut down tourism in order to keep residents and tourists already there safe. Some countries such as Colombia and Argentina have taken even bigger steps, including a suspension of national and international flights.

Lockdowns are still being extended or announced in some countries but Cyprus currently has less than 1,000 cases. Google charts show that the island is seeing a decrease. The current situation appears to have convinced the government to try to reactivate tourism.

The BBC reports that the island is planning to reopen its airports on June 9. The reopening will be for countries that are considered to be at low risk, including Greece and Malta. Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios reportedly said that the hit is massive and that they are now trying to do the best they can for the rest of the season.

Authorities are planning to update the list of countries allowed every week. Officials have also confirmed the plans to set up an area for tourists who test positive and have to remain until they are recovered. The so-called quarantine hotels will join hospitals as part of the places in which tourists will be allowed to stay while they recover.

The tourism minister reportedly said that Russia and the UK will likely be allowed to enter the island in July. The UK and Russia usually have a high percentage of visitors at the island. But both are currently dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, which has put them third and fourth on the list of most confirmed cases around the world.

Cyprus is one of many attempting to reactivate the economy during these difficult times. Several European countries have already announced plans to do the same. Tourism is said to be a vital economic sector of the island, with reports saying that it accounts for more than 15 percent of the country’s GDP. The plans to reactivate the sector are not exactly new as reports were already saying back in late April that the country was looking for ways to head back into normality.