The government of Cyprus has a novel sales pitch for tourists considering a vacation in the Eastern Mediterranean nation: If you catch the coronavirus while on holiday in the island country, they will pick up the tab.
A positive test for COVID-19 in Cyprus gets visitors free lodging, food, drink and medication, CNBC reported. Travelers will only need to pay for their airport transfer and return flight.
The country has reserved a 100-bed hospital exclusively for foreign visitors who contract the virus, with 112 intensive care units equipped with 200 respirators for critically ill patients, the news outlet reported. A 500-room hotel will be reserved for patients’ family members and friends.
The pledge came in a five-page letter distributed to governments, airlines and tour operators outlining strict health and hygiene protocols the country has adopted to lure visitors, the Associated Press reported.
“This will not only ensure that they are properly taken care of, but it will also provide peace of mind to other travelers, that their accommodation is free of Covid-19,” the Cypriot government said in a letter to its tourism partners dated Tuesday (May 26).
Tourism accounts for 13 percent of the economy in Cyprus, and the country expects to lose as much as 70 percent of the $2.85 billion in tourism revenue, the news service reported.
The letter, signed by foreign affairs, transport and tourism ministers of Cyprus, said the country has one of the lowest coronavirus ratios per capita in Europe. More than 10 percent of its population has been tested, they said.
There have been 17 deaths from the coronavirus in Cyprus and 939 confirmed cases as of Thursday (May 19), according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Earlier this month, Cyprus, Greece and Israel established a “corona corridor” to attract tourists by early July, VOA News reported.
Greek Tourism Minister Harris Theoharis told the news service the idea is to allow visitors access to the islands of the Aegean and Mediterranean seas.
“It is an ambitious scheme that could square the circle,” he said.