The beautiful Mediterranean island country of Cyprus wants to reassure travelers worried about being infected by the coronavirus while traveling: they will pay for your healthcare and even for your group’s hotel expenses if your trip is disrupted by someone testing positive to Covid-19.
Like we told you before, destinations will definitely be willing to do more than usual to attract travelers (Sicily has budgeted C$75 million to outright pay for travelers’ flights and hotels).
This is another great example by a European Union country, one that might become more popular depending on how quickly the travel insurance situation evolves here.
What Cyprus is offering and why it’s interesting
It’s really simple: if unfortunately you are infected by the coronavirus during your trip, Cyprus will cover the costs of hospitalization and even the costs of a quarantine hotel for your family/travel group.
This is very reassuring in case you don’t have travel insurance or simply don’t want any hassles.
The deputy tourism minister says it will give the country an “unbeatable edge” compared to the other destinations battling for the lower amount of travelers this summer. I said it before, but I’ll repeat for those just joining us: don’t believe all the doom-and-gloom predictions of how much more expensive traveling will be, at least if you’re even just a little flexible. We’ll cover the future of travel a lot more in the coming weeks, sign up for free to never miss our content.
Cyprus has less than 150 active coronavirus cases by the way, for all those who are categorically refusing to even entertain that it would make sense to travel this summer. It’s important to look at the situation in the countries you can visit, not just the situation here in Canada that is objectively worse than the vast majority of other countries, based on the official numbers.
The end of summer is over 16 weeks away from now… if you look 16 weeks in the past, it was early February and millions were still traveling. In other words, it’s a long time. And if you’re a traveler who is interested in traveling this summer, you certainly shouldn’t be ruling it out. Not this early at least.
Map and a bit of info about Cyprus
Back to Cyprus. I visited the island last year in my quest to visit every country in the world.
While I haven’t been to Greece yet (hopefully later this summer), those who’ve been to both places say that it definitely feels like a Greek island: not very surprising since Cypriots are ethnically Greek, and there is a strong shared historic bond between both countries. You’ll see Greek flags in Cyprus, and Greek is the official language.
I’ll share a post about my trip to Cyprus this week, to inspire you. But even if you find the country beautiful, I’ll tell you in a second why you shouldn’t book right away.
But first, for those who think the Cyprus healthcare system isn’t reassuring just because they’ve never heard of the country, Cyprus’s Human Development Index is just barely below Italy’s and is actually higher than Greece’s. So it’s far from being an underdeveloped nation; it’s very wealthy.
And in terms of active coronavirus cases per 1 million inhabitants, Cyprus’s rate is 7 times lower than Canada’s as of today.
Since not everyone is as passionate about geography than I am, here are the basics: Cyprus is considered part of Europe, even though it is technically located in Asia (most Asia/Europe continent definitions are just subjective groupings anyway).
It is located in the far eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea, just off the coast of central Turkey.
One last thing: since I love to share informational content, it’s worth briefly explaining that what “Cyprus” refers to is usually only the southern half of the island. The north is called the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, and while it is not recognized by any country other than Turkey, it is a de facto sovereign state. That means that their own separate government has control over that portion of the island.
So the government offering free healthcare if you’re infected during your trip is the one in the southern Greek part of the island, but that’s where most people visit anyway (and where I spent almost all of my own trip).
Why you shouldn’t book just yet
While I think this is a very innovative idea, and Cyprus could definitely be a plan B for those of you who want to travel this summer (particularly if our travel insurance situation is not resolved as we hope it will be), here’s why you shouldn’t book yet:
- the country has not reopened to Canadian travelers, which is the only restriction that determines whether you can go somewhere
- there are no direct flights to Cyprus, so you’d have to transit in countries with their own restrictions
- we are still hopeful that Canada’s travel advisory (that doesn’t keep us from traveling, but keeps us from being insured) will be lifted this summer
- we are still hopeful that other countries will open to Canadians this summer (it’s not that I didn’t like Cyprus… but it wasn’t my favorite either)
I’ll tell you why it wasn’t my favorite country, as I said, I’ll share a detailed post about my short trip to the third-largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean Sea.
But Cyprus was very beautiful nonetheless (it was #2 in our article about the best Mediterranean islands to visit, although it was just an arbitrary order and not a ranking).
In short, in all normal situations, it’s better to plan ahead and be prepared… but in these weird times, so many things will change from now to July, it’s exceptionally much wiser to be a little bit more patient than usual even if you are interested in traveling sooner rather than later.
Want to learn more about Cyprus and how/when/where to travel post-lockdown?
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Cyprus is offering something quite innovative for those with no travel insurance and those who don’t want to worry about the hassles that an infection would generate. Even though you shouldn’t book a trip to the Mediterranean island right away, this is an interesting offer to keep in mind as a plan B if no other options come up this summer.
What do you think of Cyprus’s offer? Tell us in the comments below.
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Featured image: Cyprus coast (photo credit: Alexey Marchenko)
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