I want to thank your newspaper for providing information on the tourist industry which is always informative and very welcome given airlines in the UK are terrible at keeping passengers informed. I have also been reading given we are due to come to Cyprus during August for one week’s holiday.
I booked my family of five people to travel independently (no tour operator) to the Annabelle Hotel in April, but I decided to move my booking to August pretty quickly given it was obvious the following months would be disruptive due to the virus. The Annabelle have been wonderful allowing us to move our booking and I also rescheduled my flights with easyJet to August 15. In addition, I recommended to another family of five to travel at the same time to this hotel and on the same dates given we are all friends. We would be two families that will be paying around 10,000 euros for one week and hope this income will help the hotel. We would intend to spend additional money in any local cafes etc that are open to help you support the economy and of course enjoy our holiday.
However, it appears that the Cypriot authorities are asking for a covid test proving a negative result 72 hours before traveling for UK citizens. I would make two observations around this which would be a reason that currently I believe it is not workable and in itself flawed in theory despite mitigating some risks.
First, this will increase the cost of travel for a family of five by around 825 euros given in order to secure a test with a result within the time window to travel you would need to organise it via private medical care. We are only allowed to get a test via our health service if you believe you have symptoms, and also we do not wish to draw on the resources of our health service and secure a test for free.
Second, if we did have a test 72 hours prior and then caught Covid-19 between the test result and travelling it makes the whole thing a waste of time, so the theory is a little flawed although I understand some may feel you are seen to be doing something to look safe to the population.
The other thing you reported was that there were suggestions that free tests could be offered on arrival with the cost shared by the hotel/government.
Whilst this possible scheme is interesting and alleviates the cost of those tests on travellers, I would make the following observations. If an individual on our flight tested positive on arrival, surely the whole plane of passengers would need to quarantine for 14 days despite being asked to wear masks on the plane?
In conclusion, I will not be putting my family on a plane to Cyprus (including children) if there is any risk of a two-week quarantine in Cyprus particularly through no fault of our own
What can be done to keep you and us safe? There is no easy answer. Perhaps the simple answer is you are tested before boarding the flight in the UK, but the airlines and airport operators will I imagine not take this responsibility. This is the only way I suspect you can mitigate any concerns of passengers departing the UK and then finding out someone had the virus on a four hour and 30-minute flight.
We want to come, enjoy your country, support your economy but I fear the current guidelines will make other destinations just easier and more preferable when making a personal choice on where to travel and of course spend our money.
We will be visiting a golf resort in Spain for from nights from August 2 and have accepted we will need to wear face masks in their resort, have a temperature check and be respectful to others and their staff in distancing, but we will not be at risk of quarantine on arrival in Spain or when we get back to the UK. That choice is much easier for any family like mine.
I fear many like me if they have got a week booked in August will be considering not coming under the current guidelines, changing destinations or just staying in the UK.
Steve Keeling, UK