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CYPRUS: Tourist arrivals dip for second time this year

18 June, 2019

Tourist arrivals to Cyprus in May dropped for the second time this year, after an unbroken run since 2015, mainly due to a fall from the island’s main holiday markets Britain, Russia and Germany, official data showed Tuesday.


Officials said that uncertainty over Brexit, a weaker Russian rouble and a sluggish German economy are reasons for the downturn in the island’s tourism.

Tourist arrivals in May fell 3.5% to 434,578  from 450,495  a year ago, said the Cyprus statistical service.

The disappointing May figures follow on from negative March arrivals, the first decline since June 2015.

For the five-month period of January – May 2019 tourists arrivals reversed 1.1% to 1.12 million from 1.13 million in the same period of 2018.

Tourist arrivals from the United Kingdom – the island’s biggest market - decreased 2.6% in March, while a 5.4% dip was recorded from second largest market Russia. Arrivals from key markets Germany and Greece were also down 25.9% and 10.3% respectively.

On the upside, there was a 9.6% increase in tourist arrivals from Israel – the island’s fourth biggest holiday market – and a 7.8% surge from Sweden.

Cypriot Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios has said 2019 will be a “difficult year” for Cyprus.

The UK still constitutes the main source of tourism for Cyprus, with a 36.1% share of total arrivals in May, followed by Russia with 21.7%, Sweden and Israel both on 5% and Germany 3.7%.      

Cyprus annual tourist arrivals spiked 7.8 per in 2018 reaching a record 3.93 million as revenue touched a historic high of EUR 2.71 bln.

A tourism boom has helped Cyprus return to robust 4% GDP economic growth following a €10-billion bailout to rescue its crumbling economy and insolvent banks in March 2013.

During 2018 Cyprus broke new records for tourism almost on a monthly basis.

Income from tourism accounts for more than 15 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product and is credited with underpinning a speedy recovery.