Cyprus tourist arrivals have reached 80% of pre-pandemic 2019, with visitors from the EU boosted by 22%.
Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios told MPs the EU tourism market is “the most stable framework for the development of our tourism” over the next three years.
He argued the tourism identity of Cyprus has changed, while the amount given to improve the tourist product has increased to 28% of the budget from 10%, and a quarter is directed at digital advertising.
“What our tourism achieved this year is related to the work of the last four years, and we are seeing the results this year”, Perdios told the House Finance Committee.
“Although total arrivals are at minus 20%, from the EU, we are at plus 22% compared to 2019.
“For the first time, arrivals from the EU outnumber those from the United Kingdom”.
Perdios said 40% of arrivals are from the EU, while arrivals from the UK are around 38%.
“Fears some have had that we will lose the Russians and become over-reliant on the British are not true”.
Arrivals from Germany increased by 28% compared to 2019, from Poland by 130%, Denmark by 63%, France by 105%, and Austria by 53%.
“Before the pandemic, 70% of our tourism depended on tour operators, while today it depends on them only for 50% – which was our goal – this year’s results highlight Cyprus’ potential to attract visitors from more countries of various ages and interests.”
“For many years, the tourist product was based only on the ‘sun and sea’ slogan, which is no longer the case.
He said the resilience of Cyprus as a tourist destination had been significantly strengthened.
Perdios said the 2019 budget was approximately €48 mln, and this year “we are delivering a budget of almost €54 mln”.
“The most important thing is that previously only 10% of the budget was allocated to improving the product, while now we give 28%.”
“The percentage we spend on advertising remains significant and amounts to almost 38% of the budget or almost €20 mln, of which €5 mln concern digital advertising allowing us to advertise all year round.
“This means that over 0.5 billion mobile phones worldwide are seeing our ad.”
Revenue from tourism reached €399.7 mln in August from €272.5 mln in the same month last year, recording a 46.7% increase.
For the eight months of January to August, revenue from tourism is estimated at €1.617 bln compared to €777 mln for the same period of 2021, and €235.6 mln in COVID travel restricted 2020.
Despite the significant increase, tourism revenues are still down compared to 2019, a record year for Cypriot tourism.
Revenues of €431.1 mln were recorded in August 2019, while revenues for the first eight months of 2022 are down by 7.4% compared to 2019.