articles | 18 January 2016

2015 tourist arrivals reach all-time high of 2.7m

The number of tourists visiting Cyprus in 2015 rose an annual 8.9% to an all-time record of 2,659,405 on a strong increase in the number of tourists from Britain, Cyprus’ largest market, more than offsetting a drop in arrivals from Russia, the statistical service said.

In 2015, the total number of British tourists in Cyprus exceeded the one-million mark for the first time since 2011 and rose to 1,041,208, which is almost 20% above the respective 2014 figure, Cystat said in a statement on its website on Monday. The number tourists from Russia, which in recent years emerged as Cyprus’s second largest source of incoming tourism, fell almost 18% to 524,853.

The, Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said that the increase in visitor numbers in 2015 by 215,166 further improves prospects for 2016, “so that we can proceed to the sustainable development of the sector”.

“We had both negative and positive developments,” contributing to this year’s record, which include the weak rouble, he said. “On the other hand, a positive development was the exchange rate of the Sterling”.

The number of visitors from Greece and Germany rose 38% and 30% last year to 139,539 and 112,219 respectively compared to 2014, Cystat said.

Tourists from Sweden rose 1.8% to 108,605 while those from Israel rose 43% to 98,597.

The last month of 2015 ended with a 38% annual increase in total arrivals to 78,348, Cystat said. The increase was mainly on a strong rise in arrivals from the UK, Greece, Russia and Israel which rose 44% to 25,856, 38% to 11,399, 65% to 8,191 and 66% to 4,483.

The increase in arrivals in December may be related to the October 31 Russian airline crash over the Sinai, for which the Islamic State claimed responsibility. Russia and the UK suspended flights to the popular Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh in response to the crash which claimed the lives of 224 people. In addition, the downing of a Russian war plane over Syria by Turkey in November prompted several Russian tour operators to remove Turkey from their programme.

Directly or indirectly, tourism makes out a quarter of Cyprus’ economy, according to the London-based World Travel and Tourism Council.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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