Cyprus throws open its borders to British holidaymakers... but they MUST be vaccinated: Island chiefs welcome sunseekers back from May 1 - despite leisure trips out of UK being banned until May 17


Cyprus has announced that it will throw open its borders to British holidaymakers who have been fully vaccinated from May 1.

Inoculated Britons will be free to enter the country without needing to have a negative Covid test or quarantine, the Cypriot tourism ministry said on Thursday. 

Officials are looking into ways for Britons to prove they have had the vaccine, including an app or letters from doctors, according to The Times. 

But those hoping to jet off for the Early May bank holiday are set to be barred by UK authorities because Boris Johnson has said he won't allow overseas leisure travel until at least May 17.   


Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios said on Thursday: 'We have informed the British government that from May 1 we will facilitate the arrival of British nationals who have been vaccinated ... so they can visit Cyprus without a negative test or needing to quarantine.' 

More than a million Britons visit each year - more than from any other country - and the tourism industry accounts for 13 per cent of the Cypriot economy.  

Arrivals and earnings from the sector plunged on average 85 per cent last year.  

Visitors would need to be inoculated with vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency, the tourism minister said.

And the second dose of the vaccine must have been administered at least a week before travel, Perdios added. 

It comes after neighbouring Greece said it was in discussions with the British government for a vaccine passport to facilitate summer holidays. 

Athens said last month it is hoping for a 'semi-normal' season and was in talks with officials in London after seeing the stunning progress of Britain's vaccine roll-out. 

The announcement by Cyprus is a massive boost for struggling travel agents who usually rake in bookings for summer holidays at this time of year.

EasyJet's CEO said last week that the airline was poised to ramp up flights to full capacity to countries who open their borders to the UK.  

Cyprus has been in and out of lockdown for about a year, but its coronavirus outbreak has been mild compared to other countries.

By Thursday, it had recorded a total of just 36,004 infections and 232 deaths since the pandemic started.