Cyprus tourist ar­rivals dip in bailout year

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Tourist ar­rivals in Cyprus dipped last year when a Euro­pean Union bailout res­cued its bank­ing sys­tem from col­lapse al­though rev­enues were up, of­fi­cial fig­ures for 2013 showed yes­ter­day. The num­ber of tourists vis­it­ing the hol­i­day is­land de­clined by 2.4 per­cent, reach­ing 2.40 mil­lion from 2.46 mil­lion in 2012. Tourism of­fi­cials said the 2013 re­sults were pos­i­tive con­sid­er­ing the un­prece­dented “hair­cut” on bank de­posits and pre­dicted an im­prove­ment in 2014. “De­spite a slight de­crease recorded in 2013, it is con­sid­ered a very sat­is­fac­tory year af­ter the de­ci­sions in March when ar­rivals fell 70 per­cent in some cases,” Cyprus Tourism Or­ga­ni­za­tion chief Marios Han­nides said. Han­nides stressed that tourism rev­enues had in­creased by more than 9 per­cent “in one of the worst years for our econ­omy.” Im- proved rev­enues are fan­ning hopes that the key sec­tor, which ac­counts for around 12 per­cent of Cyprus’s GDP, can pull the econ­omy out of re­ces­sion in the near fu­ture. The largest an­nual fall in tourist ar­rivals was a 31.5 per­cent plunge from Ger­many, fol­lowed by a 21.1 per­cent dip from Greece and a 7.1 per­cent drop from Bri­tain, the is­land’s big­gest mar­ket. Only a sharp 28.3 per­cent spike in high-spend­ing Rus­sians in 2013 pre­vented a steeper drop in visi­tors, with more than 600,000 ar­rivals putting Rus­sia in sec­ond place be­hind Bri­tain.

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