Tourist arrivals in August expected to improve

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Tourist arrivals in August are expected to be slightly better than June as more Russian and UK tourists begin to arrive in numbers, said Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios.

He said Cyprus’ two biggest markets — Russia and Britain — are beginning to show signs of movement with more flights arriving.

Perdios said June was the first month which “enabled us to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

“We finished at around 35% compared to 2019, exhibiting an increasing trend in the next months.

“It is good to see this increase, but we have a way to go.

“Let us not forget, Cyprus remains in the deep red zone (for COVID), which hinders the arrival of tourists, especially from the EU.”

Perdios said Russians from the start of the summer had been the “backbone of the tourist season” while adding that Britons have started arriving.

He said it was difficult to make exact predictions as Israel – the island’s third-largest source for tourists – has banned travel to Cyprus.

“We are in a much better position than last year, and this is very significant.”

Perdios hoped that 2022 would herald a tourism reboot, but full recovery would not be achieved until 2024.

A total of 184,159 tourists arrived in June, a 63.9% decrease compared to pre-COVID 2019, when 509,662 arrivals were recorded.

For the six months January – June 2021, arrivals of tourists totalled 340,984, a decline of 79,1% compared to the same period in 2019 (1.63 mln arrivals).

A mixture of national lockdowns, quarantine and travel restrictions has decimated the island’s tourism industry which generated €2.68 bln in 2019 on record 3.97 million tourist arrivals.

Tourist revenues and arrivals in 2020 plunged by 85%.

Pre-COVID, over 53% of Cyprus’ four million tourists in 2019 came from the UK (33.5%) and Russia (19.7%).

Cyprus had three successive boom years before the pandemic struck, with British arrivals peaking at 1.4 million.