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COVID19: Tourist arrivals in downward spiral

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Tourist arrivals in the first three months to March recorded a steep drop of 92.8% compared with the lockdown period last year, as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue to affect the tourism sector.

According to official data, in March alone, tourist arrivals amounted to a trickle, with only 8,811 enjoying a Cyprus holiday, a decline of 84.1% from March 2020 when the outbreak started.

Compared to the pre-COVID crisis, the drop in arrivals in March is 94.8% worse than 2019 – a record year for tourism with nearly 4 million arrivals.

Greece was the primary source of tourists in March, with a share of 32.2% in total arrivals, followed by France at 10.6% and Germany 10.5%.

The biggest markets, the UK, Israel and Russia, were off-limits due to pandemic travel restrictions.

Under normal circumstances, tourism contributes around 15% of the country’s GDP.

Residents travelling abroad

Some 13,289 residents of Cyprus returned from a trip abroad in March, compared to 47,393 in the same month last year, recording a 72% decrease, according to the Statistical Service.

The main countries from which residents returned in March were Greece and Russia.

Compared to a year ago, the return of residents from Greece decreased by 81.8% and down 13.2% from Russia.