Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, tourist arrivals in Cyprus plunged 81.2% in August to 104,261 from 553,845 in 2019, according to official data released Thursday.
Tourists from the largest market Britain were only allowed to return in August but on the condition, they produce a negative coronavirus test.
This severely limited the number who wanted to travel due to cost and inconvenience.
The next two biggest markets Russia and Israel respectively are still banned from entry due to their COVID situation.
For the eight-months January to August arrivals of tourists are down by 84.5% reaching 424,850 from 2.73 million in the same period last year.
Under lockdown, Cyprus banned commercial flights in March, effectively closing down the airports until June 9.
Since June, a gradual easing of travel restrictions to Cyprus was introduced, allowing arrivals from specific countries according to their epidemiological risk assessment.
Currently, only four EU countries – Germany, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania — are considered low risk, meaning arrivals do not need to provide a negative COVID-19 test prior to entry.
In August, tourist arrivals from the UK decreased 78.3% while there was 47.8% downturn from Greece, 43.8% decrease from Switzerland, Austria dipped 29.5%, 23.1% decline from Germany and 3% down from Poland.
Tourism authorities say the best they can hope for in 2020 is to reach 20% of last year’s record arrivals of 3.97 million tourists.
Many hotels have also remained closed during the pandemic while they focus on the next summer season.
|Country of usual residence||August||January – August|
|Tourist arrivals||% change 2020/19||Tourist arrivals||% change 2020/19|
|Switzerland (incl. Lichten)||8.031||8.554||4.462||-47,8||47.073||43.379||13.799||-68,2