Published on : Monday, April 16, 2018
UK officials labelled media reports about ‘terrified Britons’ ready to ‘flee Cyprus’ in the run-up and aftermath of air strikes on Syrian government targets from the RAF base at Akrotiri early Saturday as scaremongering by officials on Monday.
Prime Minister Theresa May had called President Nicos Anastasiades on Saturday, hours after the strikes to brief him on the military action in Syria and reassure him that there was no question of any danger to Cyprus.
Cyprus has been seeing record tourism arrivals over the past three years and is looking forward to another bumper year in 2018. The UK is Cyprus’ biggest source of the three million tourist arrivals last year, followed by Russia.
Authorities and British residents themselves in Cyprus were at pains to stress on Monday that there would be no impact from the limited strikes and that it was a one-off message to the Syrian government on its alleged use of chemical weapons.
Neither the UK nor the US has changed their travel advisories for Cyprus this month. The UK advisory was last updated in March and remains current as of Monday. The US advisory is a year old.
A British High Commission spokesperson said: “The fact of the matter is we have not changed our travel advice for Cyprus and have no plans to do so. The tone of the articles in the British press is not right. It’s scaremongering.”
British bases spokesman Sean Tully said they had seen no evidence of British residents or tourists wanting to flee Cyprus. “It’s very safe to come to Cyprus. The PM [May] stated her case clearly at the weekend. We stand by the PM’s comments. Cyprus is a very safe place,” he added.
Local tourism authorities said the same on Monday. Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) acting director general Marinos Menelaou told the Cyprus Mail there had been no cancellations and no flight delays due to the airstrikes.
Tags: british travellers