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Tourism keeping Cyprus economy alive

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Cyprus’ tourism sector is holding the fort, keeping the economy running despite blows from the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of the war in Ukraine, argue government officials, encouraged by July arrivals.

According to CyStat data, 454,657 visitors came for a Cyprus holiday in July, up 52.9% from 297,308 in July 2021.

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, with a share of 38.2% (173,874) of total arrivals.

Cystat released its data on tourist arrivals, as the Finance Ministry boasted that preliminary estimates showed the economy grew by 6.1% year-on-year growth in Q2, with the overall growth for 2022 expected at over 5% GDP.

In comments to new site StockWatch, Cyprus’ tourism boss, Savvas Perdios, said increased flows of tourists in July helped the economy heal its wounds, while indications for the coming months are encouraging.

The Deputy Minister of Tourism said that arrivals in July were 83% of those recorded in the same month of the record-breaking 2019.

Overall, arrivals in the first seven months of 2022 equal 77% of those recorded in 2019.

He said that the UK, the island’s largest market pulled through, as 45% of all tourist arrivals were from Britain.

Perdios said that tourism was also boosted by EU markets, marking an increase of 18% during the first seven months of the year compared to the same period in 2019.

He said new holiday markets have also performed surprisingly well.

“I was pleasantly surprised by the Polish market and Germany, France, Italy, Hungary and the Netherlands.

“Israel is doing well. It is a market that we have relied on in recent years. But it is also a difficult market as Israelis usually stay in hotel units for only 3-4 days.”

He said that previous months showed revenue growth was around 10 percentage points higher than the rate of arrivals in the first five months of the year.

Consequently, there will be increased profitability for businesses; however, as he said, there are also higher operating costs of hotel units due to the rising price of raw materials and energy.

Tourism is a key driver of the economy, contributing around 15% of Cyprus GDP.