Advantages of Cyprus, for Holidays or Retirement
European travellers choosing a sunny Mediterranean holiday destination have always considered Cyprus favourably, despite the fact that flights to the island and accommodation in the multi-star hotels are often more expensive than other, closer destinations. But now that the pandemic has reset the travel market’s priorities, Cyprus and Greece are clear favourites. While Greece is classified as the safest destination – in terms of virus infections – in Europe, and the UK has ranked Cyprus among the ‘low-risk’ destinations, Cyprus does offer serious advantages.
Safe holidays in the sun
To begin with, the government has developed a clear and stringent protocol for airport arrivals and the hotels that have opened to receive overseas visitors. What’s more, should a visitor contract the virus – either en route or on the island – the government will bear the cost of quarantine and care.
Another important factor, to the government’s credit, is that its Covid relief package, which includes significant subsidies for hotels that retain all their staff, has allowed many establishments to operate with full staff, despite very low occupancy rates. Not only does that help them ensure the proper implementation of health and safety protocols, but it also delivers the short- and long-term benefits of keeping their trained team, rather than having to lay off human resources then scrambling to find new, untrained staff when tourist activity resumes. Ultimately this ensures better service and quality levels, which pay off over time in repeat visitors and guest loyalty – something that every hotel should consider before letting long-standing staff members go.
Covid aside, the other advantages of Cyprus as a holiday destination are not new: English is widely spoken, telecommunications are excellent, the sunshine is reliable, and the number of Blue Flag beaches is such that you bump into them one after the other along the southern coast.
Optimum retirement conditions
Apart from the obvious benefits, tourism has a further, possibly more valuable dimension: holidaymakers who enjoy repeat visits to Cyprus often decide to retire on the island, setting up a home for themselves and a holiday escape for their children in or near their preferred resort.
To give this trend a boost, the government has introduced several tax incentives for well-to-do pensioners who transfer their wealth and tax residence to Cyprus. Tax incentives for foreign employees who are Cyprus tax residents have long been in effect. What is relatively new is the 5% flat tax rate on foreign pensions in excess of €3.420, which together with the affordable cost of living and quality of life in Cyprus – and now the sound management of the pandemic – is likely to persuade foreigners, both European and non-European, to consider enjoying a relaxing and healthy retirement in Cyprus.