Cyprus has announced that it will throw open its borders to British holidaymakers who have been fully vaccinated from May 1.
Inoculated Britons will be free to enter the country without needing to have a negative Covid test or quarantine, the Cypriot tourism ministry said on Thursday.
But those wishing to jet off for the Early May bank holiday are set to be banned by UK authorities because Boris Johnson has said that he won’t allow overseas leisure travel until at least May 17.
Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios said on Thursday: ‘We have informed the British government that from May 1 we will promote the arrival of British nationals who have been vaccinated … so they can visit Cyprus without a negative test or needing to quarantine.’ More than a million Britons visit each year – more than from any other country – and the tourism industry accounts for 13 per cent of the Cypriot economy.
Cyprus’s decision to allow vaccinated Britons entry to the country ahead of the rest of the EU was spurred by the bloc’s reluctance to take a decisive stance on Covid-19 immunity certificates, a tourism minister has said.
Explaining why the country had broken ranks with other EU members by deciding to admit Britons with the certificate from 1 May, Savvas Perdios told the Guardian that visitors, holidaymakers, and the travel industry all “needed clarity”, which the step sought to deliver.
Arrivals and earnings from the sector plunged on average 85 per cent last year. Visitors would need to be inoculated with vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency, the tourism minister said. And the second dose of the vaccine must have been administered at least a week before travel, Perdios added.
Neighbouring Greece said it was in discussions with the British government for a vaccine passport to facilitate summer holidays. Athens said last month it is hoping for a ‘semi-normal’ season and was in talks with officials in London after seeing the incredible progress of Britain’s vaccine roll-out.
Cyprus’s announcement is a massive boost for struggling travel agents who usually rake in bookings for summer holidays at this time of year.
Cyprus has been in and out of lockdown for about a year, but its coronavirus outbreak has been low compared to other nations.
Thursday, it had recorded a total of just 36,004 infections and 232 deaths since the pandemic started.