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Tourism keeps head above war clouds

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Despite the loss of tourist markets due to the wars in Ukraine and Israel, Cyprus kept its head above the war clouds, as it welcomed just below the all-time record 3.97 mln holidaymakers seen in 2019.

In the vibrant year of 2023, a whopping 3,845,652 tourists decided to explore the charms of this sunny eastern Mediterranean island from January to December, marking a 20.1% increase compared to the same period in 2022 when 3,201,080 vacationers visited the island.

According to data released on Wednesday by the national statistical service, Cystat, December 2023 witnessed a merry influx of 123,630 visitors, a cheerful 12.3% rise from the festive December of 2022, with 110,041 tourists.

Deputy Minister for Tourism Costas Koumis said that the goal was to achieve an increase in tourist arrivals of 5-10% compared to the previous year.

“The specific goal was set taking into account geopolitical developments, the state of the economy in our main markets and specifically the high inflation that characterised most European economies.

“We continue our efforts with the aim not only to get good results this year, but to make the country’s tourist product more attractive,” the junior minister said.

Among the contributors to this travel fiesta, the United Kingdom emerged as the life of the party in December 2023, contributing 23.4% (28,973) to the overall revelry, followed by Poland with an 11.5% share (14,233), and Greece bringing in a lively 10.3% (12,792).

Holidays, reunions and business

December 2023 saw 58.4% of the tourists arriving for a well-deserved holiday, 30.4% for heartwarming reunions with friends or family, and 11.0% for business.

Comparatively, in December of 2022, 61.9% were drawn to the enchanting island for holidays, 27.4% for heartwarming connections, and 10.4% for business.

But the spirit of exploration isn’t a one-way street.

Cypriot residents, in their pursuit of adventure, embarked on 153,736 journeys beyond their homeland in December 2023, a surge of 9.8% from December 2022, where 139,981 voyages were recorded.

The return was most significant from Greece at 30.2% (46,376), the U.K. with a warm 15.3% (23,478), and Poland contributing a friendly 4.6% (7,006).

For the residents of Cyprus, the year-end journeys of December 2023 were predominantly fueled by the desire for a leisurely holiday, capturing 62.5% of the travel spirit.

Meanwhile, business endeavours claimed a respectable 16.3%, educational pursuits marked a scholarly 20.5%, and a sprinkle of other reasons added a whimsical 0.8% to the mix. Travel on!