Russian holidaymakers seeking winter sunshine will have to fork out €80 for an entry visa if they want to take vacations in Cyprus.
To make matters worse, they also face increased processing times and more rigorous rules for the issuance of multiple-entry visas.
The change is set to take effect from December 1, 2022, when tourist visas for adults will cost €80, whilst visas for children between the age of six and 12 will cost €40.
The move means the cost for a family of four – two adults and two kids – to enter Cyprus will amount to an eyewatering €240.
Until now, visas had been free of charge.
The move comes as an added misery for Russian holidaymakers unable to fly directly to the island since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.
As it stands, with flights from Russia into the EU banned, Russians are forking-out top prices for air tickets to connect to Larnaca or Paphos via Middle Eastern countries.
Others are making long train journeys to Germany, then connect from Berlin to Larnaca via Easyjet. Another popular route has been from Copenhagen – Larnaca with Wizz.
The ruling to introduce fees follows the full suspension of the visa facilitation agreement adopted by the Council of the European Union. Earlier in September, the EU Council said that general rules of the visa code will now apply to citizens of Russia.
Remarkably, despite the Ukraine situation, Cyprus has seen a robust rebound of holidaymakers this year.
Recent figures show tourist arrivals reached 413.382 in September 2022 compared to 339.242 in September 2021, recording an increase of 21,9%.
As a vital cog in the economy, tourism supports thousands of jobs in hotels, restaurants, beach sports and entertainment venues.
For the period of January – September 2022, arrivals totaled 2.540.554 compared to 1.299.392 in the corresponding period of 2021, 512.184 in the period of January – September 2020 and 3.260.546 arrivals in the period of January – September 2019.
Tourism officials say even though the Covid-19 pandemic and Ukraine conflict saw the loss of holidaymakers, arrivals from other markets had been encouraging.