Air passenger traffic shows signs of recovery after 18 months of COVID-19 travel restrictions, said Cyprus airports operator Hermes.
Despite the reluctance of many to travel abroad and the complicated control procedures at airports, this year, 50 airlines flew from Cyprus, compared to 70 in 2019, most of them will continue to fly during the winter.
In the first eight months of 2021, Hermes said passenger traffic was 2,511,239, (33% of the same period in 2019), which “demonstrates that we still have a long way to go until we reach pre-pandemic figures”.
It said the results of the summer season show more optimistic tendencies, as in August passenger traffic reached 867,104 (60% of 2019) while in June and July it was 440,944 and 772,136 respectively.
In August last year, passenger traffic did not exceed 296,266 (Larnaca airport: 221,791, Paphos airport: 74,475).
Hermes said it analysed data from the Cyprus Flight Pass for May 25-August 22, which shows that permanent residents’ trips dropped as they constitute 22% of the total traffic, compared to about 30% in previous years.
A total of 78% of the overall passenger traffic concerns passengers who are not permanent residents of Cyprus.
A total of 82% of non-permanent residents in Cyprus came for holidays, 10% visited relatives and friends, while 3% came for business reasons.
Most travellers chose Famagusta (47%) as their place of residence, followed by Paphos (27%), Limassol and Larnaca (12%) and Nicosia (1%).
Most Russian tourists chose Famagusta (Ayia Napa, Protaras) for their holidays, followed by Paphos, while most British tourists chose Paphos followed by Famagusta.
Tourists from Poland were the third biggest group, recording a 6% increase compared to 2019 (from 2% in 2019 to 8% in 2021), mainly due to better connectivity.
Most Poles preferred Paphos for their vocations (50%).
Ukrainian tourists also chose Famagusta for their holidays (48%), followed by Paphos (20%), while the Germans preferred Famagusta and Paphos equally.
This year saw a significant increase in flights to and from Italy.
Regarding France, Hermes said there are direct flights to French airports from Larnaca and Paphos after many years.
French tourists prefer to stay in the Paphos district (42%), followed by Famagusta (30%) and Larnaca (17%).