Cyprus Tourism Revenues Jump 16%

NICOSIA – Visitors to Cyprus aren’t being deterred by the country’s economic crisis or capital controls that limit withdrawals to 300 euros ($413.50) per day, with the statistical service reporting that revenue from tourism increased 16.6 percent comparing with the same period of last year.

Cyprus Tourism Organization Director General Marios Hannides said in a written statement that, “This  proves that despite any obstacles, the tourist sector resisted the economic crisis.” He said he’s not letting up though and that the agency will keep trying lure visitors.

Revenue from tourism reached 246.6 million euros ($339.8 million) in October 2013 compared with 211.5 million euros ($291.46 million) in October 2012.

Tourism spending in Cyprus in the first 10 months of 2013 hit 1.95 billion euros ($2.68 billion,) more than last year’s total, boosting hopes the sector will ease the economy out of recession, official data showed

The government is hoping tourism income can help it recover from a crisis precipitated when the government had to ask international lenders for a 10 billion euro ($13.67 billion) bailout that came with attached harsh austerity measures and confiscation of 47.5 percent of private bank deposits over 100,000 euros ($137,000).

Already in 2012, arrivals increased 3 percent to reach 2.46 million visitors – a seven-year high – from 2.39 million for 2011, while tourism income increased 10.2 percent to 1.92 billion euros. This followed from a 12.9 percent jump in revenue in 2011 compared to the 2010 figure of 1.54 billion euros.

Despite the crisis, Cyprus continues to bring in big-spending Russians to offset a drop in the numbers of British – the island’s leading market – and Germans are going elsewhere. Russians, the biggest victims of the bank confiscation as they had deposits in Cypriot banks, now make up the second biggest source of tourists for Cyprus, where tourism accounts for about 12 percent of GDP.

This year, the economy is expected to shrink by 7.7 percent, with most economists expecting the recession to continue until 2015. Holidaymakers to Cyprus hit an all-time high of 2.69 million in 2001, spending 2.17 billion euros ($2.99 billion).