Cyprus is slowly returning to normal life! Restrictions on movement continue to be slowly eased with outdoor spaces at restaurants allowed to reopen from May 21st. As temperatures soar to around 26C in Limassol, it’s another warm, welcoming ray of light to help shine the way out of lockdown. There are around forty luxury hotels in Limassol – could we see some of their doors reopening too in the weeks or months ahead? Currently, 5-Star luxury hotel Londa, is planning to reopen during June.
Public beaches are also due to re-open – from 1st June – along with museums and libraries, and archaeological sites will start accepting visitors. One week later, the pace heats up again as restaurants, cafes, and bars will open in the next phase, starting from the 9th June. The cultural heart of the island starts to beat once more…
Re-opening of Limassol theatres more upbeat news for culture lovers
It was recently announced that the Limassol Wine Festival – usually held in August – should go ahead later in the year although no date has been set. The 14th Euro Mediterranean Festival of Traditional Dances is also rescheduled to take place in Limassol between July and August.
There’s even more upbeat news for culture lovers with the re-opening of Limassol theatres on 9th June, including The Marios Tokas, and the open-air venues at Aristides Koudounaris Park and at Filellinon Street. Soon after, on 14th July, Limassol’s much-loved Pattihio Theatre opens her doors once again to the public, along with the Cultural Centre Panos Solomonidis, the Papadakis Warehouses Arts Centre and the Ena, or Second Municipal Market Theatre.
In our last blog post, we asked if the summer season can be saved. A recent proposal to create so-called, “travel bubbles” between neighbouring countries is increasingly seen as a way forward in helping cross-border tourism. The European commission recommends a three-phase approach to bring together member states with “similar overall risk profiles”.
July holidays in Cyprus for visitors from “safe countries”
Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are set to become the first European countries to adopt the idea. From May 15th, residents will be allowed to travel freely within the bloc, a move which could be followed by Poland and Finland. Similar plans are also said to be in the pipeline for travel between Croatia, Slovakia and Austria, and neighbours, Australia and New Zealand. It is hoped that by the peak summer season, an interactive map produced by the European commission will provide travellers across the EU with information on the latest border controls and travel conditions.
Cyprus looks to also form her own travel alliances – popularly described as “bubbles” in the press. The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Savvas Perdio, has recently stated that those visiting from “safe” EU countries, such as Greece and Germany – also including Israel – may be able to plan to holiday on the island in July. The minister also indicated that Cyprus would “welcome with open arms” visitors from the UK, the leading country of origin for tourists travelling to Cyprus every year.
Of the 3.96 million visitors to Cyprus in 2019, one in three (1.33 million) were from Britain. During the peak tourist months, from June to September, Cyprus received 2.1 million holidaymakers, of which more than 705,000 were from the UK (CYSTAT).
Potentially optimistic news for air travellers
As lockdown also starts to lift in parts of Britain, there is also potentially optimistic news for air travellers as Ryanair announces plans to operate nearly 1,000 flights per day – 40 per cent of capacity – or nearly all of its pre-Covid 19 network from 1st July. British Airways are also said to be reviewing its plan to return to 50 per cent capacity by July.
Of course, there will be a number of important rules that visitors will be required to follow, including social distancing and wearing a mask. But many people around the world have already adopted the necessary measures when making their essential journeys.
The Cyprus government continues to provide recommendations on how restaurants, bars and tourist attractions may safely operate during the remainder of the summer season. It may not be too long before the “new normal” in Cyprus extends to the hotel and hospitality sector.