TUI has called for the Cyprus Government to reconsider its decision to allow unrestricted access only to fully vaccinated British holidaymakers from next month.
The island is expected to be one of the first tourist destinations to remove the quarantine requirement for British visitors in May.
It has announced that British holidaymakers who’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID will be allowed unrestricted access, while others aged 12 and older will have to produce a negative COVID test.
But TUI Group Purchasing Director Helen Caron has asked the Cypriot Government to consider allowing unrestricted access for holidaymakers who have had just one dose of the COVID vaccine.
Speaking at a virtual conference hosted by The Cyprus Hotel Managers Association, Ms Caron said: “It was really good news to hear about quarantine-free travel but if customers are required to have both doses [of the COVID vaccine], it’s not going to be possible for many of our customers.
“Many of our customers are still waiting for their first dose, which means the second won’t take place till later in the summer. Would participation after one dose be possible?”
Ms Caron also called on Cyprus to offer free or discounted COVID tests for holidaymakers, many of whom might need two tests to enter Cyprus and a further test before they fly home. They might also be required to test again after arriving in the UK.
At the moment, the cost of pre-travel COVID PCR tests in the UK is around £60 to £120.
“Last year Cyprus did a really good job of testing on arrival; we would recommend that Cyprus very much focuses on reducing the burden of the cost of these tests; we would recommend very much that you consider ways in which you can either cap the cost of the tests or provide them for free,” added Ms Caron.
She pointed out that uncertainty over testing requirements is suppressing demand. “It’s unlikely our customers will be able to fund the cost of these as they stand today,” she said, adding that customers need a seamless process of certified testing in place in Cyprus.
Ms Caron suggested that Cyprus could redirect some of its marketing budget to reducing the cost of testing.
Speaking at the same conference, Jet2 CEO Steve Heapy said that the availability and cost of COVID tests in the UK also needs to be addressed. “The [UK] Government says it is committed to reduce the cost of testing but that isn’t good enough,” he said. “We need cheaper testing.”