Cypriot authorities say media reports of an alleged attempted abduction case at a holiday resort are unsubstantiated and have unfairly tarnished the destination’s reputation.
The Cyprus High Commission issued a statement after reports of an attempted kidnap of children staying at the Anastasia Beach Hotel in Cyprus last week.
A 19-year-old Bulgarian man was arrested following complaints by holidaymakers at the resort that he had been taking photographs and approaching children on the hotel grounds.
The man was taken into custody for questioning and his mobile phone, computer and home were searched by police, but nothing incriminating or suspicious was found.
Police also took statements from parents at the resort and the children themselves.
In a statement, the high commission said: “Their statements did not corroborate the allegations concerning a possible abduction plan on the part of the said foreign national. All allegations were duly examined and no evidence was found to support them.
“The various press reports in the UK alleging a planned abduction of children from the hotel by a group of foreign nationals are, therefore, unsubstantiated.
“In view of the fact that due process has been followed, the Cyprus government considers that the news stories in the UK media do not reflect the facts, thus unfairly tarnishing the good reputation of Cyprus.”
The statement also highlights Cyprus as a family-friendly destination with one of the lowest crime rates in the European Union and said it “continues to be one of the safest tourist destinations”. Almost 2.5 million visitors go to Cyprus each year.
Thomas Cook moved 49 holidaymakers who requested alternative accommodation and allowed two families to return home following the incident.
The tour operator also requested extra security at the hotel, including extra lifeguards at the pool side, and handed out letters to all new arrivals with the resort team on hand to handle any queries or concerns. Holidaymakers are also being contacted on arrival back in the UK to offer them any support, including counselling, should they need it.
A spokeswoman said the operator was allowing any concerned holidaymakers due to go to the hotel to switch to alternative accommodation or destinations where possible.
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