Cyprus Deputy Ministry for Tourism halved its target for tourist arrivals in August to 100,000 as main tour operators exclude Cyprus of their programmes due to the continuing coronavirus pandemic and the epidemiological data, Deputy Minister Savvas Perdios told CNA.
However, Perdios said that the Deputy Ministry is not considering revising downwards its target for 2020 as this depends on the epidemiological situation which still remains fluid.
The Ministry estimated last March that due to the Covid-19 pandemic and requirements for entering Cyprus tourist arrivals will amount 25% of the tourist arrivals in 2019 (3.98 million) with 200,000 arrivals in August. However, the latest developments mainly in the UK, which represents roughly one third of the annual tourist arrivals, forced the Ministry to revise its target to just 100,000 in best-case scenario.
The problem emerged as tour operators have notified Cyprus that they cannot include the island in their schedules as long as a negative test for Covid-19 is required to enter the country. As of August 1, the UK will be included in Cyprus’ the category B which requires tourist presenting a negative Covid-19 test to enter the country.
The revised target includes a projection for arrivals from Britain either individual tourists or as part of chartered flights, even if the UK gets upgraded to category A
“Our initial target for August, as set out in March, provided for a threshold of 200,000 tourist arrivals. However, following contacts with British tour operators in the last weeks, this target is revised to 100,000 at best,” Perdios told CNA.
The revised target constitutes a 50% reduction compared with the March estimates and amounts to just 18% of the 553,845 arrivals in August 2019.
Perdios also pointed out the revised target includes a projection for arrivals from Britain either individual tourists or as part of chartered flights if the epidemiological data in the UK improve, upgrading the country to category A that does not require a negative Covid-19 test.
Tour operators, Perdios said, have clarified that the schedules apply until mid-August and they are reviewed every two weeks.
“Therefore, if things go better than expected, we expect British tourists to arrive towards the end of August but the ceiling remains at 100,000 as it is very hard to imagine any arrivals over 100,000,” the Deputy Minister added.
For the whole of 2020, Perdios said the Ministry has not revised its targets as the situation remains fluid.
“Since tour operators say they have not cancelled their programmes for the whole of the year but only until mid-August we haven’t touched the remaining months,” he said.
Perdios added the projection ranges from 20% to 25% of last year’s arrivals at best, noting that even this is subject to the epidemiological data in Cyprus’ main markets.