Travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic has decimated Cyprus’ tourism industry with tourist arrivals in July registering an annual decline of 88.2%.
According to official data, amid the coronavirus outbreak, tourist arrivals in July were limited to 64,914 from 550,971 in the same period last year.
Although it is a marked improvement on June 2020 when only 9,119 tourists arrived in Cyprus, reflecting the gradual lifting of restrictions as the airports reopened in early June.
For the seven-month period of January-July 2020, arrivals totalled 320,589, way off the 2,181,994 tourists that came in 2019, recording a decrease of 85.3%.
No tourist arrivals were recorded in April and May following a ban on commercial flights.
In March, a ban on entry to the Republic was imposed for non-residents, as part of coronavirus lockdown measures in Cyprus.
June 9 saw a gradual easing of travel restrictions with Cyprus allowing arrivals from countries based on their epidemiological risk assessment.
Greece was the biggest tourist market for Cyprus in July with 10,824 arrivals, down 9.7% year on year, followed by Germany with 9,651 arrivals (down 28.3%).
Earlier this month, Greece was demoted from a safe country to category B which means entry is only allowed with a negative coronavirus test result.
There were also no tourist arrivals from the UK in July as entry was only allowed since August 1, this forced many hotels to remain closed.
The UK is the island’s biggest market which traditionally represents a third of all tourist arrivals.
Due to travel restrictions, no arrivals were also recorded from Russia, Cyprus second tourist market and Israel which is the third-largest.
These three countries represented 64.2% of July 2019 tourist arrivals (3.97 million).
The UK is currently classed as category B that requires a negative PCR test, a requirement that prompted major British tour operators to excluded Cyprus from their flight programme.
Britain’s Jet2 has since resumed flights to Cyprus starting from Monday.
Cypriot travel abroad dips 77%
Cyprus residents travelling abroad declined 77.5% to 37,406 in July, marking a steep reduction compared with the same month in 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The main countries from which residents of Cyprus returned in July, were Greece, the United Kingdom, Germany, Bulgaria and Romania.
Compared to July 2019, the return of residents from Greece decreased by 64.9%, from the UK it was down 90.0%, from Germany -72.9%, Bulgaria -83.9% and from Romania -86.1%.