Russian tourists to peak at 650,000
Cyprus tourism officials believe that the number of tourist arrivals from Russia will peak at 650,000 this year, second only to arrivals from the U.K., while Russians are also the third best spenders on the island. Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) Vice Chairman Kostas Koumis said that plans are already underway with new partnerships to increase tourist arrivals in 2015, both from Russia and other European and nonEuropean countries. “Given that in 2013, around 608,000 Russian tourists arrived in Cyprus, we hope that if arrivals in coming months reach the same levels as the months of the previous year, tourists will reach 650,000 which is a record number,” he noted. He said that the future of the Russian tourist market for 2015 “depends on what is happening in Russia, knowing that the Russian government is considering to impose taxes on trips outside of Russia.” Unfortunately, he added, this could have a negative impact on Cyprus.
The monthly Passenger Survey for January-July conducted by the Statistical Service Cystat saw revenue from tourism rise to EUR 1,099.9 mln compared to 1,036.2 mln in the same period of 2013, an increase of 6.1%. Total per capita spending dropped to EUR 841.00 compared to 936.80 in July 2013, while daily spending dropped to EUR 78.30 from 89.40, the statistical service said earlier in October. The highest per capita spending was recorded by tourists from France with EUR 1,000.70, followed by the Swiss with 940.10 and the Russians with 934.40. Meanwhile, CTO Director General Marios Hannides said that there are no official projections showing a decline in the Russian tourist flow for next year, but spoke of “potential difficulties” from the impact of measures taken by the Russian government, such as taxes on foreign travel and the devaluation of the rouble against the euro.
Speaking during the presentation of a KPMG study for the restructuring of CTO, Hannides said that the purchasing power of Russian tourists is constrained by an increase in the VAT to 18% and visa problems.
He said that there are some encouraging signs from the cooperation with Arab countries, owing to CTO’s efforts to establish direct flights with these countries.