Despite Cyprus losing 800,000 Russian and Ukrainian tourists last year due to the war, visitor arrivals spiked 65% in 2022 after COVID-19 travel rules were dropped.
Due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing EU sanctions, Cyprus was deprived of 800,000 arrivals, but tourism recovered to around 80% of pre-pandemic levels.
Cyprus benefited from Europeans wanting to book a summer holiday, with UK arrivals leading the way.
The European Union markets helped to cover the lost ground with record arrivals from France, Denmark, Poland, and Hungary.
The island is around 700,000 tourists short of the record year 2019, when arrivals peaked at 3.9 million.
In 2022, tourist arrivals totalled 3,201,080 from 1,936,931 in the previous, 631,609 in 2020 and 3,976,777 in pre-COVID 2019, announced the Statistical Service.
In December 2022 alone, the tourist arrivals reached 110,041, from 96,928 in December 2021, recording an increase of 13.5%.
Arrivals from the United Kingdom were the main source of tourism for December, with a share of 24.3% (26,708), followed by Israel with 17.1% (18,801), Greece with 11% (12,055), Poland with 8.5% (9,316) and Germany with 4.5% (4,976).
Tourism is a key driver of the economy, contributing around 15% of Cyprus’ GDP.
Pre-coronavirus 2019 was also a record year for tourism revenue, with spending at €2.68 bln.