Another Big Tourism Year for Cyprus Underway Already

FILE - People walk during the sunset by the sea at Aphrodite's Rock, the spot where according to ancient Greek mythology the ancient goddess Aphrodite was born, near Paphos coastal city, Cyprus, Saturday March 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

The first two months of 2019, in the dead of winter, didn’t keep tourists from pouring onto Cyprus with the sector continuing to propel a recovery from a 2013 economic crisis when bank mismanagement almost brought financial ruin.

Tourist arrivals to Cyprus broke yet another record in February, surpassing the number of tourists who came during the same period in previous years.

“On the basis of the results of the Passengers Survey, arrivals of tourists reached 105,571 in February 2019 compared with 101,481 in February 2018, recording an increase of 4 per cent. February 2019 had the highest volume of tourist arrivals ever recorded in Cyprus during the specific month” the Statistical Service CYSTAT announced, said The Cyprus Mail.

“For the period of January – February 2019 arrivals of tourists totalled 187,541 compared with 177,348 in the corresponding period of 2018, recording an increase of 5.7 percent and outnumbering the total arrivals ever recorded in Cyprus during the first two months of the year,” it added.

The numbers from the United Kingdom, the former Colonial ruler that still has a military base on the island where the northern third has been unlawfully occupied since a 1974 invasion, cutting off many tourists, jumped by 3.9 percent in February while those from nearby Greece stayed the same.

But arrivals from Russia fell 22.3 percent and from Israel by 13.4 percent and Germany by 10.5 percent although the peak period of the summer is a few months off. UK visitors brought in 35.1 percent of tourism revenues in February, followed by Greece at 11.4 percent, Russia with 8.8 percent and Israel at 7.5 percent.

Earlier in March, 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 the 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.

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.