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UK tourists help arrivals jump 53% in July

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The return of British tourists – the island’s biggest holiday market — helped Cyprus reach nearly 500,000 arrivals in July, a 53% increase from last year.

Some 454,657 visitors came for a Cyprus holiday in July compared to 297,308 in July 2021, recording an increase of 52.9%, according to Cystat data.

Tourist arrivals from January to July also showed an annual increase.

In the first seven months, tourist arrivals totalled 1,676,039 compared to 638,292 in 2021, and 320,589 2020.

For January – July 2019, arrivals reached a record 2,181,994.

Arrivals from the United Kingdom were the main source of holidaymakers for July, with a share of 38.2% (173,874) of total arrivals.

They were followed by arrivals from Israel with an 8.4% share (38,269), Poland with 4.7% (21,285), from Germany with 4.7% (21,280), and Sweden with 4.3% (19,732 ) and Greece with 3.4% (15,450).

Cyprus tourist numbers have rebounded this summer following two years of much-needed revenue lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But one key nationality is effectively missing: Russian visitors, as the once lucrative market has been hit by European Union sanctions imposed after Moscow invaded Ukraine.

The key tourism sector contributed €2.68 bln in 2019, 15% of GDP, and is still counting the cost of the disastrous years of COVID travel chaos.

In 2019, before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, one-fifth of the tourists were Russians — 782,000 out of a record 3.97 million — making it the holiday island’s second largest market after Britain.

Last year, despite tough COVID travel restrictions, that share rose to more than 25%, with arrivals from Russia totalling nearly 520,000 out of 1.93 million.