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Tourism off to a good start, war and sanctions aside

Tourism off to a good start, war and sanctions aside


The island’s battered tourism industry is trying to recover from the coronavirus, as well as the aftermath of the war in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia, and is off to a stronger start than in 2021.

But this is far from the first two months of 2020, according to Cystat.

For the period from January to February this year, the total number of tourists arriving in the country was 115,865 compared to 8,936 in the same period in 2021 and 191,214 for the period from January to February 2020, a month before island came pandemic Covid-19.

In February 2022, the number of tourists reached 71,921 compared to 5,047 in February 2021 and a far cry from 105,592 in February 2020.

According to Cystat, arrivals from the UK were the top source of tourism in February with a share of 25.9% (18,618) of total arrivals, followed by Greece with 12.2% (8,771), Russia with 8.0% (5,732 ), Ukraine with 7.9% (5711), Israel with 7.8% (5639) and Poland with 6.4% (4612).

For 64% of arrivals, the purpose of their trip in February this year was leisure, 21.5% – visiting friends and relatives, and 14.5% – a business trip. For comparison, in February 2021, 11.6% of tourists visited Cyprus on vacation, 35.2% visiting friends or relatives and 53.2% on business.

Tourism in Cyprus has been hit hard by lockdown measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 when the pandemic began in mid-March 2020.

Tourism stakeholders are lost at sea as the effects of the war in Ukraine and the sanctions against Russia are just beginning to make themselves felt.The war, which dragged on for a month, actually wrote off all tourist flows from Russia and Ukraine.

Loss of 800,000 tourists

The head of the tourism department of the island, Savvas Perdios, said that about 800,000 tourists from Russia and Ukraine will not arrive on the island this year.

The authorities have turned to their traditionally largest market, the UK, and new emerging markets to fill the gap left by Russian and Ukrainian tourists.

Perdios said the gap could only be partially filled as the tourism ministry expects a 250,000 increase in arrivals, mostly from the UK.

Compared to 2019, when a record 3.97 million tourists arrived, there was a 51.3% decrease in 2021. British tourists accounted for a third of all tourist arrivals in 2019 before COVID.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, the number of tourists arriving in Cyprus decreased by 84.1% in 2020 compared to 3.97 million tourists in 2019, which was the worst tourist season in Cyprus in recent history.

The pandemic ended four consecutive record years of tourist arrivals that helped Cyprus emerge from the financial crisis in 2013.

Tourism revenue in 2020 fell to its lowest level since 1999, when the data was collected.

A combination of national lockdowns, quarantines and travel restrictions has crippled the island’s tourism industry, which generated €2.68 billion in 2019 with record arrivals.

Under normal circumstances, tourism income is about 15% of GDP.Before COVID, more than 53% of the 4 million tourists in Cyprus in 2019 came from the UK (33.5%) and Russia (19.7%).

Prior to the pandemic, Cyprus had three consecutive boom years, with a peak of 1.4 million British arrivals.

Source and photo:, Editor

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