With tourism propelling a recovery from a banking and economic crisis, Cyprus’ Deputy Minister for Tourism Savvas Perdios said the island hopes to keep luring foreign visitors to keep the skein going.
“With joint efforts we will be at the same levels as last year,” he told Cyprus News Agency following the conclusion of his contacts at the ITB Tourism Fair in Berlin where the island made its pitch for what’s expected to be a particularly competitive year in 2019, especially with Greece also having several consecutive record seasons of tourists.
In 2018, Cyprus’ recovery picked up steam with another record-busting tourism set of figures, seeing 39.3 million tourists, a 7.8 percent jump.
It’s been tourists who’ve brought the revenues to key the comeback along with the island’s reputation as safe while competitors nearby such as Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey have seen foreign visitors shy away out of fear of violence and terrorism.
Again it was the British, the island’s former Colonial rulers and who still keep a base there, who were the biggest market, drawing 1.32 million people, a six percent jump, said Agence France-Presse.
The Swedes, shaking off the Scandinavian cold, came in droves too, some 153,769, a jump of 12.5 percent, while fellow Greeks, some spending and traveling despite their country’s crisis, showed a 9.8 percent jump to 186,370 people.
There were some drop-offs though, in the second-largest market of Russian, down 5 percent with 783,631 arrivals and the third-largest, nearby Israel, down 11.2 percent with 232,561 arrivals, keeping the record away from the 40-million mark.
Poland and Ukraine have become new emerging markets for the island with annual increases of 58 per cent and 44.5 percent, official figures showed.
Tourism helped push Cyprus’ growth to 4 percent although the figures on how much they spent haven’t been released yet for a sector that accounts for more than 13 percent of the annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 19.01 billion euros ($21.65 billion).
The growth led the government to create a Deputy Tourism Minister, breaking it off from another ministry, to replace the current state-funded Cyprus Tourism Organisation.