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COVID19: Tourist arrivals go from record to rock bottom

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Cyprus went from record tourist arrivals to plunge 84 per cent in 2020 with the island suffering a tourism nightmare as the pandemic decimated holiday travel.

Tourist arrivals plunged by 84.1% in 2020 to mark Cyprus’ worst tourist seasons due to Covid-19.

Cyprus tourist arrivals reached a measly 631,609 spiralling 84.1 per cent year on year from the record 3.97 million tourists in 2019.

The pandemic ended four successive record years of tourist arrivals that helped Cyprus emerge from a financial crisis in 2013.

Last year, tourist arrivals nosedived after Cyprus enforced lockdown measures to limit the spread of Covid-19 including a ban on commercial flights from March which was gradually lifted in early June.

There were also travel restrictions imposed on Cyprus’ main tourist markets the UK, Russia and Israel while quarantine measures across Europe also affected connectivity.

In December alone, tourist arrivals were only 9,682, an annual reduction of 91.2 per cent, the Cyprus Statistical Service said Monday.

In 2020, UK tourist arrivals, Cyprus’ largest tourist market, decreased by 82.9 per cent to 228,047 from 1.33 million in 2019.

Arrivals from Greece dropped by an annual 63.4 per cent to 62,788 from 171,512 in 2019 while arrivals from Germany dipped 60.1 per cent to 60,430 from 151,500 the previous year.

A mixture of national lockdowns, quarantine and travel restrictions has decimated the island’s tourism industry which generated €2.68 bln in 2019.

Income generated from tourism usually contributes around 15 per cent to GDP.

Initially, the government aimed to reach 20 per cent of 2019’s capacity, those hopes were dashed by a second wave of coronavirus at home and abroad.

Despite putting a lid on the pandemic when it arrived in March, Cyprus has since struggled to contain the outbreak with total Covid-19 cases on Sunday reaching 28968 and 170 deaths.

The island is in its second lockdown with most European Union arrivals denied entry because of their Covid risk status.

Country of usual residence December January – December
Tourist arrivals % change 2020/19 Tourist arrivals % change 2020/19
2018 2019 2020 2018 2019 2020
TOTAL 106.563 110.330 9.682 -91,2 3.938.625 3.976.777 631.609 -84,1
United Kingdom 32.065 33.401 2.977 -91,1 1.327.805 1.330.635 228.047 -82,9
Greece 15.807 10.524 2.755 -73,8 186.370 171.512 62.788 -63,4
Germany 6.096 4.501 844 -81,2 189.200 151.500 60.430 -60,1
Other 52.595 61.904 3.106  -95,0 2.235.250 2.323.130 280.344 -87,9