– Tourist arrivals in Cyprus next year are expected to exceed the record number recorded in 2019 despite adverse international economic conditions, Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios said on Tuesday.
He told CyBC state radio that arrivals through the end of this year are expected to reach 80 percent of the 2019 figure of about four million visitors.
Tourism is the engine of the eastern Mediterranean island country’s economy and accounted for around 21 percent of its $26.7 billion Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019.
Tourist arrivals dropped to around 632,000 in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, then increased to 1,937,000 in 2021, more in 2022, with 3,200,000 visitors expected by the end of the year.
Perdios said the Ukraine conflict led to a reduction of 800,000 arrivals from Russia and Ukraine in 2022. However, the loss was offset as a result of increased arrivals from several European Union (EU) countries, most notably France, Germany and Poland.
He said EU countries are emerging as the biggest source of tourism for Cyprus, accounting for 40 percent of arrivals this year, up from 25 percent before the pandemic.
“We hope that in a few years tourists from EU countries will account for 60 percent of the total number of visitors coming to Cyprus,” Perdios said. ■