Cyprus Smashes Annual Tourism Arrivals Record

Cyprus annual tourist arrivals spiked 7.8 per cent in 2018 with the total for 2018 reaching 3.93 million smashing its previous record, official figures showed Thursday.
In 2018 arrivals of tourists totalled 3.93 million for the year from 3.65 million in 2017 which held the previous annual record of visitors. It was the sixth consecutive year that tourist arrivals have been in positive territory.

The eastern Mediterranean island has benefited from its reputation as a regional safe haven as unrest has hit the tourism sectors of its traditional competitors Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey.

Cyprus has benefited from a boom in visitors from its largest market, Britain (1.32 million) ― up nearly 6 per cent in 2018 ― along with a revival in those coming from Sweden (153,769) - up 12.5 per cent - and Greece (186,370) (up 9.8 per cent).

Preventing the island from breaking the psychologically important four million barrier was a decline in Cyprus’ second largest tourist market Russia (783,631) down 5 per cent and an 11.2 per cent reverse from third biggest contributor Israel (232,561).

Poland and Ukraine have become new emerging markets for the island with an annual increase of 58 per cent and 44.5 per cent respectively.

A tourism boom has helped Cyprus return to robust 4% GDP economic growth following a €10-billion bailout to rescue its crumbling economy and insolvent banks in March 2013.

Income from tourism accounts for more than 13 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product and is credited with underpinning a quick recovery.

During 2018 Cyprus broke new records for tourism almost on a monthly basis.

In December alone, arrivals of tourists increased 7.7 per cent to 106,563 from 98,924 in December 2017 – it was the highest number ever for arrivals during that month. 

Some 3.65 million tourists enjoyed a Cyprus holiday in 2017, spending an unprecedented 2.6 billion euros. Tourism revenue figures for last year have yet to be released.

Earlier this month Cyprus swore in its first tourism minister dedicated solely to the booming sector which is the holiday island’s key driver for economic growth.

The junior Tourism Ministry replaces the state-funded Cyprus Tourism Organisation.