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Tourist arrivals creeping up on 2019 levels

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Despite Europe’s travel disruption, Cyprus tourist arrivals are at 75% compared to the nearly four million record of pre-COVID 2019.

Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios said taking into account the difficulties the travel industry is facing; the percentage is “not bad at all”.

There was even the loss of the Russians – the second largest tourist source – and the burgeoning Ukraine market due to the war.

“So far, we are satisfied; compared to 2021, we are in a much better position.”

Perdios added that last year ended around 50% lower than 2019, aiming to exceed 2021’s performance.

“There is reserved optimism for the remainder of the year; from what it looks like, July, August and September will be very good.

“We have our feet on the ground and continue to praise the work carried out by the ministry in cooperation with the Transport Ministry and Hermes Airports strengthening existing markets and opening new ones.”

Perdios said he did not want to think about tourism figures if preparations did not start early, adding his ministry began preparing three years ago when he took office.

Asked about the losses from the Russian market, Perdios said, “these are around 800,000 that cannot be replaced overnight”.

“If we didn’t have these losses, we would have had an excellent year.

“Nevertheless, with timely planning and an emergency action, we have managed to make up for 25% of the loss from the Russian market, attracting around 200,000 arrivals from other markets which we have strengthened in the last years”.

He said the difficulties Cyprus tourism faces are the persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic with the spread of the Omicron variant and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Cyprus is moving in the right direction, and we see the continued development of our product and new markets such as Germany, Austria, Israel, Switzerland, France, Scandinavian countries, and Italy.”