TOURISM: Cyprus breaks annual record for tourist arrivals

TOURISM: Cyprus breaks annual record for tourist arrivals

An influx of Russian, British and Israeli tourists helped Cyprus set a new record for its best ever year for arrivals with 3.67 million visitors up to October, official data indicated on Monday.

The Mediterranean island has beat its previous annual record of 3.65 million tourists Cyprus received in 2017 with two months to spare.

Authorities are confident that Cyprus could break the unprecedented four million visitors barrier this year.

Arrivals for the first ten months, January to October, totalled 3.67 million compared to 3.40 million in the same period of 2017, recording an increase of 7.8 per cent, the Cyprus statistical service (Cystat) said.

During the year Cyprus has been breaking new records for tourism almost on a monthly basis.

In October alone, arrivals of tourists increased 6.6 per cent to 433,617 from 406,870 in October 2017.

“October 2018 had the highest volume of tourist arrivals ever recorded in Cyprus during the specific month,” said Cystat.

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Tourists from the UK (1,245,718) is by far the island’s largest market with a 33.9 per cent share for the year to October, followed by Russia (752,267) with 20.5 per cent and nearby Israel (215,019) is third with 5.9 per cent.

Increases were also recorded from other emerging tourist markets, such as Poland up 56 per cent and Ukraine rose 47.9 per cent.

The eastern Mediterranean island has benefited from its reputation as a regional safe haven as unrest has hit the tourism sectors of its traditional competitors Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey.

A record 3.65 million tourists enjoyed a Cyprus holiday last year, spending an unprecedented 2.6 billion euros.

The tourism boom helped Cyprus return to growth following a €10-billion bailout to rescue its crumbling economy and insolvent banks in March 2013.

Income from tourism now accounts for about 15% of the country’s gross domestic product and is credited with underpinning a quick recovery with GDP growth at 4 per cent.