UK government agency maintains Cyprus travel warning

The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the agency responsible for British travellers overseas, is maintaining a warning for visitors to the island of Cyprus.

In light of the financial crisis that is currently sweeping the nation, forcing bank closures and the threat of a tax on deposits in Cypriot banks, the FCO has advised UK nationals intending to visit the country to take adequate cash reserves and to be extra vigilant with regards to the possibility of theft.

Although a EUR10 billion bailout was agreed early this morning, the Foreign Office warning, which was first issued last week, remains in force today. As part of the agreement, Bank Laiki, Cyprus’s second largest bank, is to be wound down and depositors with balances over €100,000 will face a sizeable levy on their funds. A tax on smaller accounts, which had been threatened, has apparently been avoided.

Despite Jeroen Dijsselbloem, president of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers, announcing that the deal had ended the uncertainty surrounding the economy of the island nation, the FCO still maintains that travellers should take sufficient cash ‘to cover the duration of your stay’.

The FCO’s official advice states, ‘The Government of Cyprus has announced an extended bank closure. ATMs, debit and credit cards can be used as normal however, while banks are closed, we advise taking sufficient euros to cover the duration of your stay, alongside appropriate security precautions against theft.’

With the main holiday period about to get underway, an FCO spokesman clarified that travellers to Cyprus should be vigilant with regards to where their valuables are and retain knowledge of their own whereabouts.