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CYPRUS: Tourist arrivals dip for the first time in almost four years

17 April, 2019

Tourist arrivals to Cyprus in March dropped for the first time since June 2015 mainly due to a fall from the island’s main holiday markets Britain, Greece and Germany, official data showed Wednesday.


Officials said that uncertainty over Brexit and a sluggish German economy are reasons for the downturn in the island’s tourism.

Tourist arrivals in March fell to 169,934 from 192,090 a year ago, recording an 11.5% decrease, said the Cyprus statistical service.

For the three-month period of January – March 2019 tourists arrivals declined 3.2% to 357,475 from 369,438 in the same period of 2018.

Tourist arrivals from the United Kingdom – the island’s biggest market - decreased 6.9% in March, while an 8.5% dip was recorded in tourists from Greece and a 36.6% decline from Germany.

On the upside, there was a 10.1% increase in tourist arrivals from Russia – the island’s second largest holiday market.

Cypriot Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios told the Cyprus News Agency that 2019 will be a “difficult year” for Cyprus. He cited Germany’s slow economic growth and cited Brexit insecurity for British travellers, as reasons why Cyprus is losing ground.

Perdios said signals from the Russian market are more positive with arrivals projected to reach last year’s level.

“This does not mean that any loss from the British or the German market will be covered. We hope that we will be close to last year’s numbers. We will be happy if we achieve that,” said Perdios.

The UK still constitutes the main source of tourism for Cyprus, with a 37.3% share of total arrivals in March, followed by Russia with 14.7%, then Greece on 8.2% and Germany 7.0%.     

Cyprus annual tourist arrivals spiked 7.8 per in 2018 reaching a record 3.93 million as revenue touched a historic high of EUR 2.71 bln.

A tourism boom has helped Cyprus return to robust 4% GDP economic growth following a €10-billion bailout to rescue its crumbling economy and insolvent banks in March 2013.

During 2018 Cyprus broke new records for tourism almost on a monthly basis.

Income from tourism accounts for more than 15 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product and is credited with underpinning a speedy recovery.