Cyprus plans to restart air travel and tourism on June 9

Cyprus Tourism Organistation (Photo: Famagusta Gazette)

Cyprus is preparing plans to restart air travel and tourism on June 9, according to government sources quoted by state television on Wednesday.

Deputy Government Spokesman Panayiotis Sentonas said President Nicos Anastasiades conducted the meeting with the scientific team advising the government on the coronavirus pandemic and the Council of Ministers, to discuss detailed planning for reopening airports and hotels.

He added that tourism will not be the same as before, as tourists will be required to behave in line with rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19, whether on the beach, in restaurants or during tours and visits in cities.

State television said that as part of preparations for the restart of tourism, reports on the pandemic situation in 21 countries will be prepared with a view of categorizing them and choosing those from which tourists would be allowed to arrive from and when.

Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides has said that detailed security protocols and travel advice will be issued for each one of the countries which will be allowed to send tourists to Cyprus.

State television said that hotels will resume operation as of June 1 for local visitors so as to prepare to receive foreign tourists as of June 9.

It added that air travel will first resume with Greece, Israel and Malta, three countries with the same epidemiological characteristics as Cyprus.

Restrictions on tourism were imposed on March 15 for an initial period of two weeks, after which a complete ban on flights was imposed.

Cyprus received almost four million tourists in 2019, with travel and tourism contributing 21 percent to its gross domestic product (GDP).

Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios has said that Cyprus would be happy to salvage 30 percent of last year’s income from tourism, including from local tourism.

On May 21, all restrictions on movement will be lifted, including a night curfew, and restaurants will start receiving customers, initially in open spaces.

Local authorities in several cities announced that they will relax regulations so as to allow restaurants to put tables in public spaces at discount fees, until they resume normal operation in about three weeks’ time.