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25 January 2015
Russians & Israeli Tourists give Cyprus a welcome boost - But British Tourist still top the table !
A surge in Russian and Israeli tourists helped ensure visitors to Cyprus rose 1.5 percent in 2014 to help the bailed-out economy buffer three years of recession, official data showed for 2014.
The key tourism industry has pulled itself together after a 2.4 percent decline in 2013. Last year tourist arrivals totalled 2.44 million compared to 2.40 million the year before, recording an increase of 1.5 percent.
Despite the island’s main tourist market Britain (871,523) dipping 2.2 percent and a 12.7 percent decline from Germany (86,397) arrivals stayed in positive territory.
This was due to a 4.6 percent increase from Russia (636,766) and 57.6 percent spike from Israel (68,822).
In 2014 Britain remained in top spot, followed by Russia, Sweden (106,666) and Greece (100,955) in fourth. In December alone arrivals increased 3.7 percent to 56,863 from 54,813 in the same month of 2013, statistical service figures showed. In 2013 there was a 2.4 percent dip in tourist arrivals to the holiday island reaching 2.40 million from 2.46 million in 2012.
Cyprus is benefitting from more direct flights but industry experts say the falling rouble and the demise of national carrier Cyprus Airways could have an impact in 2015.
Improved arrival figures combined with better revenue is fanning hopes that the key sector can pull the economy out of recession in 2015.
Cyprus needed a €10 billion bailout from international lenders in 2013 to save its banking industry and stop the eurozone member going bankrupt. The largest annual fall in tourist arrivals for 2014 was a 52.5 percent plunge from Ireland, and the biggest increase from nearby Israel. Although tourist arrivals were down in 2013, the €2.08 billion revenue received was the best for a decade. Arrivals in 2012 increased 3 percent reaching 2.46 million visitors from 2.39 million for 2011.
The last time arrivals to the recession-hit holiday island surpassed this figure was in 2005 when 2.47 million people visited.
Holidaymakers to Cyprus hit a record high of 2.69 million in 2001 spending a record €2.17 billion. Revenue estimated for 2014 have yet to be released.
Income from tourism accounts for around 12 percent of Cyprus’ GDP.