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Bounce-back Cyprus Buoyed by Record July Tourist Arrivals

NICOSIA – Continuing a recovery on the bank of a 10-billion euro ($11.76 billion) international bailout and seizing bank accounts, Cyprus got another boost with a record number of tourist arrivals in July.

The country’s statistical service said 531,030 people came from other countries, an increase of 48,898 or some 10.1 percent with visitors flocking for the sun and sand and summer weather for which the island is famous.

“July 2017 had the highest volume of tourist arrivals ever recorded in Cyprus during that month,” the service said in an announcement.

That continued a banner year of 2017 in which 1,994,236 tourists arrived in the first seven months of the year, up 256,864 or 14.8 percent from 2016.

Most of the visitors were from the United Kingdom, the island’s former Colonial ruler and as Cyprus remains a favored spot for British ex-patriates. Some 33 percent of tourists came from the UK with Russia – Cypriot banks were a favorite haven for Russia’s wealthy – making up 24.3 percent and Israelis 8 percent.

Tourism is driving the country’s recovery, Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides said earlier this summer after meeting the associations of hoteliers and tourist agents, the Cyprus Mail reported.

After the session he told the paper that, “Tourism was certainly a pillar of growth in recent years, perhaps even the main reason we have managed to exit the financial crisis, and this is mainly due to the efforts of the private sector”.

He said the overwhelming number of applications for tourist developments has caused delays, and “We discussed ways that can improve the ministry services’ ability to cope with all the applications”.

In July, hotels across the country said they were jammed with tourists, with those in Paphos particularly busy with record numbers.

Owner, and head of the Paphos hoteliers, Euripides Loizides told the Sunday Mail: “We are having an extraordinarily busy tourist season, and in the 26 years that I have owned a hotel, this is our best season ever.”

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