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Cyprus gains a perfect score in EU's ranking of cleanest swimming waters

Paphos on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus
Associated Press Reporter

Tourism in Cyprus has a boost after Europe’s environmental watchdog said the country had the cleanest swimming waters in the European Union.

According to the European Environment Agency’s rankings for the 2020 swim season, Cyprus received a perfect score of 100% for excellent water quality at 112 swimming spots around the island, which were tested between May 1 and October 31 last year.

Cyprus beat Austria, Greece and Malta, which came in second, third and fourth.

That is timely news for the east Mediterranean island nation, which is trying to woo back holidaymakers after a dismal 2020 summer season that saw tourist arrivals plunge more than 84% from the previous, record-setting year.

Tourism directly accounts for 13% of Cyprus’ gross domestic product and industry officials say they cannot face another disastrous year, especially without state financial support.

“There’s a direct correlation between bathing water quality and tourism and as a result, the excellent results are very important not only for the health of bathers and the environment, but also for the economy of Cyprus,” environment minister Costas Kadis said.

The key for a healthy economy in Cyprus is to bring back tourists from the UK — its prime tourist market.

Deputy Minister for Tourism Savvas Perdios is touring the UK now to drum up interest among tour operators once British authorities place Cyprus in the government’s “green” list.

That means visiting Britons would not need to undergo a compulsory quarantine period upon their return home.

Health minister Constantinos Ioannou told state broadcaster CyBC today that Cyprus and Denmark currently have the lowest COVID-19 infection rates in Europe, while Cyprus ranks third in the percentage of the population that has received at least one vaccine jab.

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