Avoiding the banks may be a good idea, but carrying lots of cash and speaking with a British accent isn't likely a much better idea on an island where people are feeling massive economic pressures.
Travellers to Cyprus have been advised to carry different forms of currency with them, to minimise the risk of running out of money.
The advice to take cash in both euros and sterling, as well as bank cards, was issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) over the weekend, following controversial measures taken by the Cypriot government to protect its financial sector.
Holidaymakers visiting the island, a popular destination for those seeking early sun, were also advised to contact their banks before travelling.
“The Cypriot Government is implementing measures to protect its banking sector. You should check with your bank for further information,” said the Foreign Office. “We advise those travelling to Cyprus to take different forms of payment with you to ensure you have access to adequate funds (such as pounds, euros, credit/debit cards)”.
It added: “Tourists should be wary of carrying large quantities of cash and check their travel insurance policy to make sure it covers them for individual items in case of theft or loss.”
On Saturday, Eurozone lenders agreed to a rescue package for the economy, worth at least 10 billion euros, in exchange for a one-off tax of up to 10 per cent on deposits in Cypriot savings accounts.
As long queues formed at cash points, the Cypriot government took steps to prevent electronic money transfers, in order to stop depositors withdrawing their savings.The rush to withdraw cash has led to fears of a shortage of currency at ATMs on the island.
The move also led to protests across Cyprus.
The FCO also suggested that British nationals receiving pension payments in Cyprus should contact the International Pension Centre on +44 191 21 87777 or, by email at TVP-IPC-Customer-Care@thepensionservice.gsi.gov.uk, to discuss the possibility of compensation.
There are currently no restrictions on travel to Cyprus.
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Photo Credit: A man withdraws money from an automatic teller machine at a branch of Bank of Cyprus in Athens. Yannis Behrakis / Reuters