19 May 2022

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Summer holidays – choices galore now with the Cyprus announcement?
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Summer holidays – choices galore now with the Cyprus announcement?

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Will staycation be able to hold its own against the increasing ease of making those continental trips?

Today’s announcement that Cyprus will allow British in quarantine free from 1st May if they have had both of their vaccinations has thrown the whole holiday situation up into the air.

This announcement raises all sorts of issues and is going to be the beginning of a tourist grab raid.

What has emerged alongside this announcement is that staycation costs are significantly higher this year than they were last year. Accommodation prices are said to be some 35% higher than last year – clearly the market thought that it could rely on the problems related to overseas travel to recover some of their losses. It has already been announced that huge numbers of bookings have already been made for the summer.

Perhaps the British holiday trade is about to get its come-uppance. Having thought it could take advantage of the difficulties of overseas travel, in tanks Cyprus with what might be described as an offer which cannot be refused. Those who know Cyprus will know that it is a very popular destination; it is a foreign country which is very British orientated and where English is widely spoken. But it has the magic of the Mediterranean with nice beaches and lots of sunshine and Cyprus badly needs the British tourists as they count for a significant source of income.

The move is likely to be seen as very popular by airlines who could re-adjust their schedules to take advantage of an influx of British flyers which will help them to reduce their own losses.

Those who have already booked staycation holidays are no doubt no stuck with them at the prices quoted but it will be interesting to see if the market softens with this news. Sadly it looks as if the shot in the arm which the UK hospitality trade thought it was getting is not going to be as effective as originally anticipated.

The Cyprus offer is not unique. They have already done a deal allowing Israelis to enter the country on similar terms from 1st April. Greece too has done the same with Israel. Now that this has started, expect the flood gates to open very soon! Will there be a European country which does not make a similar offer?

So what can you expect if you go to Cyprus? They have not fared too badly with the virus having had just 36000 cases altogether and only 232 deaths. And then you will have to look at what requirements there may be on your return to the UK. At this stage we do not know what restrictions will still be in force. If quarantining on return is still required this could negate the whole process.

Another thing which will now become a big issue is how a traveller is going to prove that he has had his two doses so some form of vaccination passport will be a pre-requisite and the government needs to get the form of this resolved as soon as possible.

Probably today there are mixed feelings about these developments across the country but it is likely that there will be many more similar announcements being made in the near future.

As always, it may well be that leaving your holiday booking to the last minute might enable you to get the best of competitive offers as well as avoid the consequences of any future unexpected shutdowns!

Adrian Leopard 05-03-21

Photo Irina Shishkina

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Adrian Leopard & Co is represented in the UK by 3CL (UK) Ltd trading as Adrian Leopard Associates.

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