March tourist arrivals up 43%

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Tourist arrivals increased for the third consecutive month this year, with the number of holidaymakers in March rising 43% year on year to 184,263.

This was up from 119,081 in February from 71,921 in the same month last year, an increase of 65.6%, with the UK accounting for a quarter of these arrivals.

The Statistical Service (Cystat) said in its monthly report on tourist arrivals that during the first quarter of the year, the island welcomed 393,893 travellers, up 61% from the 244,705 recorded in January-March last year.

At this rate, Cyprus will enjoy a second year of post-Covid recovery after 3.2 mln tourists last year, with July being the best month, breaking past the 450,000 mark, despite losing an estimated 800,000 tourists from Ukraine and Russia due to the war and sanctions.

The UK remained the biggest market in March, accounting for 33.8% or 62,282 tourists, followed by Israel with 22,813 (12.4%), Greece with 15,122 (8.2%), Poland 14,049 (7.6%) and Germany with 12,864 (7.0%).

According to Cystat, 71.6% of all March arrivals declared ‘holidays’ as their purpose, 14.9% said they were visiting friends and relatives, and 13.3% were on business.

Residents prefer Greece

Some 113,805 Cyprus residents returned from a trip abroad in March compared to 59,918 in the same month last year, an increase of 89.9%.

Greece accounted for 30.3% of all trips abroad (34,455), followed by the United Kingdom with 14.4% (16,386), Bulgaria with 4.0% (4,527) and Italy with 3.5% (3,959).

The purpose of travel for Cyprus residents was mainly holidays, with 68.2%, followed by business at 26.1%, studies at 4.0% and other reasons at 1.8%.