Major travel agents from Britain and Sweden seem to be overcoming their reservations regarding the mandatory coronavirus test and are starting to bring tourists to Cyprus again, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said Friday, speaking before the Parliamentary Transport Committee.
Karousos said Cyprus’ model for tests and laboratory analyses at airports seems to have been convincing abroad, referring to a Telegraph article that cited the local model as an example the UK should follow, and to an article in the Sun characterizing Cyprus as the destination with the lowest risk of quarantine for travellers returning from it.
Karousos noted that while travel agents were initially discouraged by the negative coronavirus test certificate requirement, it was eventually accepted and necessary, with tourist arrivals increasing.
Jet2 initially started flights in mid-August and Tui launched flight routes to Cyprus on September 4, while the major Swedish travel agent, Tui Nordic, will begin flights in the coming days.
Karousos said the cost of the coronavirus test required by travellers coming into Cyprus from countries it listed in its B and C categories is borne by the tourists themselves, with some travel agents having reached agreements with private laboratories in Britain and Sweden.
The Transport Minister referred to the success and the positive comments received from abroad on the Cyprus Flight Pass, noting that Cyprus had taken an initiative within the EU to create a common European Flight Pass for better data management. At the same time, countries such as Greece, Germany and Australia showed interest and contacted Cyprus on this issue. He also noted that the Cyprus Flight Pass is being upgraded day by day, with new and more automated procedures.
Cyprus airports expected to handle 300,000 passengers in September
Karousos said passenger traffic at Cypriot airports reached 39,874 in June, 196,000 in July and 294,000 in August, while for September it is estimated that about 300,000 passengers will be handled. About 70% of them were tourists, 9% travelled for business purposes and the rest to visit family or friends.
Since airports reopened, about 80,000 tests have been performed, of which 172 were positive. Of these, approximately 50,000 were randomly tested, with 44 testing positive.
The Minister also referred to arrivals at Cyprus marinas and said that similar strict procedures are being followed there.